Strange to pass your red door, green, the contagion
Still blooming. Your death, ever brighter, did not stop
Its spread. Especially perfumed were the cherubim
On the knocker, despite their brutal gape. I was not
Received that way. An old movie. Was then I ran
To the mezzanine, measuring the cost of perseverance.
Measuring, measuring. This accentuates our fervent
National identity, that it can sever itself from others’
So casually. Such manly acts of desperation do not
Appeal to our carnival sex. We have a problem
And there are no mirrors in the house. We’ve never
Been innocent, knowing since childhood all things
Can wait for someone else to put right. I think of you
So very often, my heart that was burning burning out.
Wilderness, or Bust
Quite a brilliant set-up—so rare that one must be
This naked. But then, it is you; the gods moan
With delight, some outside their festival-time.
Turn left or right, the road goes in the same
Direction, myriads of immortals on every curve
Selling the native harvest; and even so, there is still
A place for your executor under the brash lightning.
All over the quarter, people are getting ready.
The colonized man has no hope. Listen to me,
You who still love: I’m only wanting from someone
To understand, to place a bouquet every so often
At the grave of a girl, dead from doubt. That is much
To ask, but is only a moment. If you agree,
Keep your lamplight trimmed and burning,
Let the third man go forth.
Michael Schiavo’s poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Painted Bride Quarterly, LIT, Good Foot, and La Petite Zine, among other publications. A graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars and former work-study scholar at the 2004 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, he currently lives somewhere in southern New England.