A Pretext for Painting Flowers

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— after Jonathan Barbieri


Almost clinical, the way it’s splayed out On that table, gills dripping from the heave And drag, and then the tail—

At least what can be glimpsed between The shadows—warm, still attached, Though later wrapped and sold, another day.

I hate it here. This gallery a fun box Of our fury, our folly, each brand of terror And destruction: here, a son whips

A torque wrench at his father, strikes against The temple, and there—hung beside the door— A German soldier readies his grenade.

Ruttish. Hypocritical. A smear of rib juice On the lower lip. A guy who’s missed His station, slinking through the tiled corridors,

The throng of traffic at Chapultepec, A wet fedora and my breath hot on the glass. Look at me: no better cast than they.

Back out on the plaza, dogs prowl. An Aztec warrior dances to a drum. No wonder more wonderful than man.

Severed off from reason, compassion, God grew vile and consumptive. The rain falls. Pink worms brighten the dirt.