Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Cain Flees
after Blake

Like phantom limbs, we’ve learned
the source of the inner voice

is in its signal.Bantam song
whispered in an upper chamber

while dinner resumes below.

One white plate heaped with peas,
one untouched gravy-smothered cutlet is

conspicuously whisked from the table.

Strike a tuning fork to cancel
voices no one else can hear

pure tone quakes from prong to cranium

trips the neurochemical glitch.


If these transients rise oracular at their bench
If they slur against your cower

remember when you’re sore afraid:
even the prophets pissed their shifts.


No lightning strikes this deep in the field.
No tremor of bone or cochlea.

As for sight, Blake’s painting sears.
An inner drum dadums.


If it’s Cain who strides from Abel’s corpse
hands against his temples
to stub the mother’s howl


(though the howl
is in his house)


don’t mistake him for your brother.

You are the stony garden
where sooty clouds slide by

and sun leaks
into the firmament.


You’re the trembling flame that fevered
the flesh of Teresa Ávila
como enferma


and the slain infant in the mother’s womb.


If the voice says you’ll lie
in the indelible peace of a slaughtered dog

take her at her word.


If she says jump bitch:comply.
If she says flee  

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