A heady fall over the cliff of decency

And here’s the gift of it

We were set on our fellows like dogs and the whole pack of us licked the hunter’s hand

We arrived at daybreak while geese followed the river, tilting their necks skyward

We looted the workshop while orphans huddled above us. Carried off gold, blue, rose, cinnamon, smoke, violet

The violet, home to our wives

Inventario de bienes secuestros: tenedores, cuchillos, cucharas, salero de mesa, garrafón de aceite de oliva

Una camisa limpia de ropa blanca, dos sábanas de lino ordinario, una campanilla con cadena de plata

in a florid hand

An old woman’s lifting the tent flaps

We’re going under

Looting the remnants, swatches of scarlet

Line 3 is quoted from Nadeshda Mandelstam’s Hope Against Hope.

Lines 7-8, from a document in the archives of the Spanish Inquisition: Inventory of sequestered goods: forks, knives, spoons, salt cellar, demijohn of olive oil, a clean linen shirt, two plain muslin sheets, a little bell on a silver chain.