Dallas Lisieux

The inside of his head was so beautiful
:whorls watery red, bubonic bouquet, mind’s monstrance.
Flowers pressed in a book when the dance is done.

Or the rose-papered shrine of the saint I resemble
:black-mantled, with an embryonic smile.
Chanel label — rorschach scapular — scratches.
Arms daphned, all these little fists,
a perfumed shield or single scalloped wing.

His velvet skull pandora’d
With a silver-hinged snap
—my father again
:when he yanked my favourite necklace from my throat,
the bouncing pearls sang a stupid song.
Also he took me to Dachau, told stories of pliers and gold.

Map of the islands I’d love to live on,
the chunky spray, a constellation,
glistens on the hot blue trunk.
Sliding, on my knees, I pick through coral chips
that augur promises
:the emerald grass slabs in their asphalt settings;
newborn rubies. Cameras that stare and a
man’s hand especially, lifejacket wet.

Scarlet-lettered now and thinking
of those soft intestine blooms I planted
round his office window

:the roses now a tired pelt,
some many-breasted beast;
the blood on the bed
some weddings require.