I faked my death once, spent a week hiding in a lupanar
tied to a couch where a woman painted a mustache on
my upper lip and returned to kiss me between customers,
offering moth wings to my open mouth instead of
a Eucharist, which wouldn’t save me anyway, but I wanted
a small measure of penitence to make my knees go numb.
This love did not redeem me, but it did take my toes
in its mouth and call me by pleasure’s other name.
I was happy then, licking another man’s sweat from
a stranger’s breast, all bristle and bruised wrists, saturnine
and weeping over the gospels in my pocket. I understood
my sorrow of the world would not change it. My horror
could not make the electrodes burn the torturer’s hand
instead. It could not unbury the priest or transform
ashes back into a book. Better this choice to be powerless,
enthralled, to forgive God’s ambition to be free of us.