Diorama—Oradium Yellow and Black
In Georgia, RAs found a girl in the dorm 
                       bathroom, in bra and jeans, 
            arms a blood-lacquer working above a half-skinned 
 
road-kill doe. Her cheeks had the blush 
                       of a consumptive
            and two leeches affixed to the deer’s loins 
 
found themselves hanging—one from a scarlet ear,
                       the other from her compact 
            and sweating neck. Prescribed for everything
 
from obesity to nymphomania one-
                       hundred-and-fifty years
            ago, Gogol was treated for anemia 
 
with six plump leeches clinched to his face. He pleaded 
                       to have them removed; 
            they were hanging from his nose and slipping 
 
into his mouth. A man driving an empty highway 
                       bit his lip, decided
            to go—his first desire was to be a horse. And when
 
his compact Ford hit the concrete 
                       barrier he was thrown 
            through the windshield, skidding jean and flesh
 
from his knees so that they were the skinned heads 
                       of sheep shining 
            in the night, his left cheek ground to the pavement. 
 
Later, doctors placed maggots on the necrotic 
                       flesh of infected wounds
            and let a leech grow fat on his cauliflowered ear.  
 
Da Vinci was so mesmerized by the rippling 
                       of leeches propelling 
            themselves through water—like Papal streamers 
 
in strong winds—that he sketched them in red 
                       chalk, trying 
            to capture their motion (the fastest swimmers 
 
are the hungriest). On an Alaskan reservation 
                       a ten-year-old girl 
            was drowned on the banks of a pond
             
by a teen who’d been huffing gasoline—
                       he thought he was 
            riding a polar bear’s ghost to the sun; 
 
he wanted to beg it to stop shining 
                       so brightly. But 
            it was night and leeches swam invisibly  
 
beneath her flared nostrils. The year of the doe 
                       was the year 
            my roommate’s father pedalled a child’s bike 
 
down the middle of Highway Twenty through banks 
                       of snow, and sat down 
 
behind their horse-barn and let go—so that the soil 
                       there was reminded 
            of a red fox that fell into fur and a mess
 
of maggots, was reminded of Confederate 
                       Infantryman Abraham 
            Hinson whose body was dragged, still flushed
 
from a bog to that spot and left, covered 
                       in small black flags 
            that wilted the man, and when fat on him 
 
dropped lazily away.
Copyright © 2004–2017 Memorious