The Hangman Recalls a Dream to His Son, Abbot.


Arkansas, 1875


A room of Geissler tubes: there’s a mulatto girl bent over the green

felt of the uptown bunco parlor, manned

by me and a northwand’ring Mex’can

woman; out the mullatta’s body, tubes. The Mex’can
works a lever system, so my seed

runs through the elbow joints out the mule’s knees to

a basin—a furnace below heats white.
None of this bothers me: the syphilis

rot around her thighs; the worms once

in her mind, I see squirm through the glass vein
works that glow, phosphorize the room. She

being purged, vindicated by God

and His love; by my hand, the Hang Man’s,
courses water and lye. Cleanse.

Then, odd thing, Abbot, I ask Him why?

And what did He say, oldman?
He said nothing, but in the dream —

the works collapse. Glass breaks, shreds our faces,

our hands, my member wriggles on the floor. I, eunuch,
ask why?

And what did He say, oldman—?

I told you boy, he says nothing.

But we are all—

we are enveloped all

in white, white heat.