a poem by Greg Emilio

And how, Emilio, would you have me speak?
You repeat and repeat but get nowhere new.
Trace me back as far into the labyrinth
as you’d like, blind beast

with your soft hand on the unraveling leash.
Poor metaphor, expected sword double-edged
but lion-beautiful, gleaming, maw-awful:
breathing, just breathing.

Amanuensis, how could you ever hope
to taste with a febrile tongue the liquid heat
of theodicy, the red-bearded father
of fire-loaded love?

Heave that heavenly gaze into your pupil:
Paradise kindling, pin-prick pines, a whisper
of smoke choked from embers sloughing off ashes
in a far-off hearth.

Abandon your ouroboros, flame-brimming
gyre, circus conflagration, rusted garden
gates, broken crucible: there’s no symbol fit
to make me make sense.

Hiding, inflammable, you only cry out:
There is the whole world and who will put it out?
Unsung, the once-wild, ghost-green earth goes on
screaming in my mouth.