Issue 101, Winter 1986
for my father
When I go to the bathroom I see a beetle in the tub,
black, with a band of stone color
around the center, granite with a trace of
lichen on it, luminous on a damp day,
and I wonder if it's a death-watch beetle,
and I think of your death,
I wonder if the cancer will take
a long time or a short time
and I wonder if death-watch beetles are the beetles
that eat the dead. I think of you buried,
I think of the beetles that will eat your body, I would like to be one of them.
After you die, in my sleep I would like to
turn into one of those beetles and
eat my way through you all night
in calm beetle life. I want to
have whatever I can of you,
I want to eat those years of darkness and silence,
to taste your life, to eat the head
you turned away.
I even want to eat the cancer,
work my way slowly through the grayish
slightly hot mass, to know you.
but eye, tongue, if you have no more use for your body
I have always wanted it,
I never liked the way the other god's body
dissolved on the tongue, now I come with my
strong dark jaws—your life in my
body is my life, I want to use it with
real physical rage and physical love.