Satan turns on his wheel of light,
hovering inside the Senate.

A beauty confesses to the power of air,
a roaring socket of need.

The humans bear forth from their jelly,
six rose-lipped mannequins.

—Who among these is most loved?

We will be forthright in our character analysis.
We will stenograph on bright, bright branches.

Even as someone might bribe us:
with a basket of fruit to our hearth;

with a length of black thread to our dead;
with a boy with that thread in his heart;

with a boy with a snail in his heart;
with a boy with toys in his heart, who are bowing.

Copyright © 2020 by Philip Matthews. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 13, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.