The Flowering Face

He read all his poems twice, thinking,
                                           “they did not hear them the first time.”

They hired a team of gay men who do this
                                            gardening gig to do it for them

If his body rots in the mouth of maggots
                                                        let’s go to Zuni

Down his throat
                                                        poured a river of beer and rum

In the coercive moonlight of Diamond Heights
                                                       his red hair, gold

He’d like the symbolism
                                             and of course the spring flowers

He was subtle, always said, “Hello my friend,”
                               as though he knew us better than indeed he did

If the words I wrote, and throw up into the sky, in his direction
                                                    mean what I think they do

Then deep into the black earth a post I dig, that says
                                       retention must be paid

I found out who he really was
                          through the name on the bracelet, pink and white beads

A couple of guys from Ireland
                                   passing through town and one says, “Die faggots”

If there was no poetry there would be no
                               toy, face, torment, healing, gladiola, prix fixe, heaven


From Argento Series (Meow Press, 1997). Copyright © 1997 by Kevin Killian. Used with permission of the author.