Judith and Holofernes

oil on linen, 120” x 90” by Kehinde Wiley, 2012

in the frame stood all that could be done.
a dash of blood on a long and ready blade.
a justice this particular day made late. one
head without a body, hanging from the other
body. a sign to be read, not spoken. a wish
to be wished and not had. the problem is
it’s already done and up on the wall and
although it is there, happened and recorded
its broken chronology won’t be mentioned.

I am stuck in the contrast of garden and
grave. all bloom all wither all pattern and its
sore disruption. every aunt I have known
nails set to a dazzle wears the sweet remix
of Judith. blushed to balance out the gore.
the chain-linked wallpaper stares back at
what seemed to be the only feeling left.
a lie stuffed under our beds for our good.
who’s the poor tyrant in our own Bethulia?
who’s lured us into this hunting, spooked
us into such a calamitous marriage?

Animal Planet

It could’ve been the stiff crack
of bone or rapid gunfire
exploding bits of red in the air.

Because only for animals is it
natural to marinate for hours
in postmortem under sun.

The lions rip the gazelles
of themselves. They know
how sweet, the blood is.

What Deer Season Means To Me

In the house there were always two
white deep freezers packed pretty
decent with red meat. Deer season,
the hunters and the deer would satisfy
rent in season, by meat if not by cash.
It was May, I was fifteen and we smelled
fifteen or so throughout the warm insides
of the man-handled school bus, when pops
steers quick and clear to dodge the deer
and Shirlean yells, “I didn’t even know it was
deer season.” As if deer only lived so they
could be killed during deer season.
What’s a deer outside of deer season,
except a reason for deer season?

Fuh Da Summa

I’m docked at a lake that
the people don’t attend.

Machete on my hip to
make a devil cough up

blood    dust and light.
Hungry for ruins of

an afternoon of anything
wild and willing to stick

its neck through the roof
of the leftover lake. I’m

docked at a lake that ain’t
got no river    in a field that

ain’t    got no fence    under a
sun that ain’t    never heard

of mercy. I’m docked at the
edge of an unfortunate dinner

next to a wet knot of Cotton-
mouths    too big to see.