Baghdad dream




He’s dancing alone,

naked, but with helmet and bayonet.

The music is loud like Polka.

The ballroom is full of gawking pinstriped figures,

barefoot on the hardwood floor,

but he’s twirling

too fast

to see their faces.


He bolts, ashamed,

booted now and fatigued,

down a Persian-rugged hall,

to steps that get steeper as his legs shorten

and the music fades.

He comes running

too quickly

to a gold-gilded roof,


where chilled with a surge

of cool night air, silver with smoke,

sweet with the smell of rotting meat,

the bends suck the oxygen

from the blood in his head,

leave it stagnant,

too heavy,

like limp slaughtered flesh,


and the gristle binding his bones

melts, feigning marbling in fine beef,

pretends it will make savory the aging,

but collapses him quickly

to skin-dotted, full-dress bones,

open-mouthed, thick with craze-eyed flies

too fresh

from shaven Dachau dancers.




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