The Windows Are Always Open
The body’s seasons never rest, so in death or in torture
or in tongues—autumn. The little boy huddled under
Fischl’s table, sitting cross-legged, hair all in a mess,
Hermaphrodite’s arm hanging over the edge, but in that painting,
as in the summer that’s just passed, the windows are always open.
In the news, a group of men, a gang, they call them,
have been arrested in Peru for selling fat rendered from the dead.
Well, it would be harder to harvest if the victims were still alive,
says the news. At least 60 people slain and drained: the assonance
of violence. Good night, I go to my bed and think that $15,000
seems steep for one liter of human fat, though cosmetic companies
looking for an edge will pay anything—it’s not political.
I’ve a poster of Fischl’s The Sheer Weight of History above my bed
like I did of Elle McPherson when I was a boy, and really,
what’s changed since then? Marriage: for what was beautiful then
is beautiful now but in a beautifully beautiful way. The little boy
under the table upon which rests a stone sculpture of Hermaphrodite:
he’s hiding, he’s witnessing, he’s sucking his thumb, and the other children
are on the bus back to school as the last of the sunlight shadows
his profile, lights his tension, exhausts him like I’ve loved
this autumn. Fully-lined, warm under the comforter, drifting bloom to bulb,
the herb garden hanging from our windowsill on its last breaths,
the stalks of marjoram, of thyme, and of rosemary all portraits
of congratulations, and now our skin will become dry and our bodies
will bloat with the salt of our autumn stews and meatloaves,
and I wonder, how much for a liter of American fat?