On the committee of vultures

By | 1 October 2020

The feeling on the island was
that a god had come here to die.
We met lesser angels wandering
drunk through the hills,

accusing passers-by of paying
tax to many-tongued deserts,
beasts muscled in shadow and
serpents who chase their tails

like dogs. We argued about the
rites held on the ridgeline of
her lips, where churches flock
like vultures. Priests there class

the old image of love as reptile
and the new one as heresy.
Accordingly, we sat around the table
looking for answers and taking

on the dimensions of a white bull.
We waited until the sky darkened
and each moon rose, rehearsing
cruel omens: the engine

of a vacuum will choke out of sight,
the legions will form a testudo
and the rain will beat down their shields,
the mirror will sag exhausted into pose

and the pale tongues loll in unison,
the city of gates will uncurl its fist and
the ship will miss the reef, but
only just, the captain

will turn and ask, ‘Did you see that?’

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