Emily/ Litany by Nate Maxson

When I was a child I thought that the flowers called Black Eyed Susans were Black Eyed Bruises
As in “I don’t like the way Black Eyed Bruises smell”
Sometimes these things come to me in the ebbtide of my aphasias
Little flickers balking against the wind in a candelabra
Have you ever noticed the varying but similar iconographic depictions of saints between the Roman Catholic Church and that of eastern holy men among the various religious authorities of India?
One depicts the saints with halos while the Buddhas and the Krishnas have a more ambiguous candle flame wavering above their heads
It usually appears to burn counterclockwise
As a not particularly religious but ever so observant Jew, I pay attention to these things
The difference between the light and the fire
While I watch out the window after smelling smoke, so expectant
What a sad day it is that the FBI are going through what used to be Emily Dickenson’s front garden with drug sniffing dogs looking for discarded crack pipes and needles, foregone conclusions really
Anything to posthumously take away her medals in light of potential disgrace, that’s the way of the world in this future
Tell me another
When given a choice between a certainty and only the potential of consumption (paper curling in a hearth)
Which would you prefer as your chosen method of combustion?
Think carefully now
There is a phrase we used to use to describe such situations:
The lady or the tiger?
The flowers all get bruises or the spinsters get the pyre

Nate Maxson

Nate Maxson is a writer and performance artist. He is the author of several collections of poetry including ‘The Whisper Gallery’ and ‘The Torture Report’. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.



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