Remember, my soul, the thing we saw
That soft summer morning:
At the turn in the path, upon a bed of scattered stones,
A carcass lying raw.
Like a woman in lust with its legs in the air
Burning and sweating poison,
It opened, with nonchalant and cynical flair,
Its effluvium-swollen stomach.
The sun beamed on its decay
As if to cook it medium-well,
So Mother Nature would be a hundred times repaid
For the whole she’d put together.
And the sky watched the superb carcass
Unfurl like a bloom.
The stench was so strong that on the grass
You nearly retched and swooned.
Flies buzzed over this putrid lap
That birthed a black battalion
Of larvae, oozing like thick liquid
Over its still living scraps.
All this loveliness fell and lifted like a wave,
Cresting with a crackle;
It seemed the body, bloated with vague breath,
Was multiplying itself to cheat its death.
This world made strange music,
Like the wind or water churning, restive
Or the whisk of wheat slipping from the chaff,
Shaken by a field hand turning his sieve.
These forms dispersed and were nothing more than a dream,
A rough sketch slow to grace
The forgotten canvas that the artist paints
Only by memory of what he has seen.
An anxious bitch behind the rocks
Watched us with an angry eye,
Eager for her chance to snatch from the skeleton
The piece of him she’d dropped.
And yet one day you will look like this filth,
This horrible infection,
Star of my eyes, sun of my self,
You, my angel and my passion!
Yes! so you will, O queen of grace,
After the last sacraments
Go under the greasy blooms and grass
To molder among the bones.
So, my beauty! tell the worms
When they devour you with their slow kiss
That I kept at least the form and spirit
Of my rotted bliss!