Today's poem is by Orlando Ricardo Menes
for José Lezama Lima
Heaven is bone dust and iodine clouds.
Alluvial marrow, gallstone cays.
Cenobites dredge mangrove catacombs,
then lathe in the sun finger-bone amulets,
scrimshaw doxologies of femur and fibula.
On the leeward side they plow high bluffs,
tartar calculussowing tobacco seeds
that thrive in the urate squalls of Lent.
Cenobites canoe to Santiago's islands
rocky calvariawhere they cast sisal nets
for fetuses, embryos, even zygotes that escape
Limbo's still waters, and preserved in gourd
reliquaries the unborn sway from rood
trees of black mampoo and Guiana rapanea.
As cherubs spawn in lagoons of rheum
and choirs susurrate litanies beneath a rain
of bile, breakers strew bodies martyred
in fontal seas, every blessèd nose, colon,
kidney, uterus, auricle stewed in conch
pyxes for Easter's callaloo, and in their shrine
of lignum vitae, under a mercuric moon,
the fattened cenobites rumba la mea culpa.
Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ricardo Menes All rights reserved
University of New Mexico Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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