Poem 113 ± September 25, 2015

Francisco Márquez
Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Always test yourself in case of a sign.
     Four scabs on your palm don’t have to come
     from a battle, they can come from a catastrophe,
like love in the shortest summer.
             Trace their shapes on your skin:
two parallel lines: circular, phallic,
        heart-shaped protrusions
beyond the stitching of your skin.

A man’s cock is a gun waiting to be fired
              and you’re the beautiful target.
       Your lesions break purple,
              the beauty of your bleeding wound.
In order to die, we need only to be alive,
         my grandfather used to say
as he cocked his gun in the war, the sliding of the shaft
              announcing his return.

Just watch how the scabs turn brown with the leaves—
       you’re connected to nature
you’re the hand of God.
              I draw string from the eyes
of strangers to this hand and dance around His knife,
        feel how deep this blade goes,
      it’s the American tradition written on your body.

Now everything reminds me of a loud clock,
       something distant and baroque,
     the chime suspended left to no use.
             Hang all the necessary paintings,
leave them to cover the holes.

       Picture a life where time is broken:
an autumn hill, a white church at its tip,
               and all the bodies beneath holding it up.

Francisco MárquezFrancisco Márquez is a Venezuelan poet living in Brooklyn. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Poetry at NYU. He is a recipient of the John McKay Shaw Academy of American Poets Award from Florida State University. His work can be found in Assaracus, HOOT, and elsewhere.

This poem appeared in Assaracus.