after Hector Viel Temperley

the earth was on fire

Lake Okeechobee reached her boiling point three months ago, hot heads rolled over the shoreline. Hot
heads steamed underneath the green sky, then popped into abscess. It has been toxic for six.

The Kingdom of Death moves like the body of a roundworm.

I take the highway to the church every seven days; Christ was once alive for seven days–he walked
barefoot on the grass banks of Okeechobee, walked barefoot in the orange orchards, walked
barefoot and plucked navels from their stems.

the Earth was on Fire

I drank the wine left in the tabernacle. The wine was still, the body stale. I took it and left the pall
covering on, washed my face in holy water and dried myself with the corporal.

I stumbled over my hands, so I cut them off and threw them in the pulpit.

The Earth Was On Fire

I promised you that I wouldn't let the ground ash but the ground is ashes.

When God died the dandelions curled into teacups. A deer quiet as a leaf in the air, told me– "here
have a sip of moth water." And a moth told me– "follow the light, kid, that's the way out, but don't
let it burn you."


There doesn't seem to be anyone around these parts of town, no dead no living no dead. My lungs
breath the acrid smolder of a tree in a field behind the church lit like a cigarette.

Think about how it was before–can you remember? living was a fire in the woods on a sober day in

September, it began in a withered bush nestled beneath a maple tree whose leaves were in
the flames and bark a thick ember.

I miss a cigarette. If I had one, I would light it with the ember of the tree whose bark is glowing orange
growling at me– "you're alive put me out goddammit." I kept on walking because I didn't have a
cigarette and I remembered the alligator that told me– "the fire will cease when you can't breathe."

The Fire Will Cease When You Can't Breathe

Does all the ash of the ground fill my mouth? Does all the ash of the ground coat the mucus
of my lungs? In seven days, the green skies will spill from the holy rib of Jesus.

Jesus! Sagrado Corazón de Jesus en vos confío! Machines are off for long now, they used to hummmmm
with a steady beeping of bodies living on the hospital floors and the blue coded time stamps.

Some of the clocks have already stopped ticking.

The Fire Will Cease When You Can't Breathe

Butterflies drink bodily fluids, a nectar of pineapples and raspberries. That is why we are all here.

All hospitals look the same. They are pale green-checked linoleum, raw yellow walls and curtains the shape of lemons.
Esters floating: the ripe of fruit: pineapple: maybe raspberries.

This is the Heart of Florida, Sagrado Corazon de Jesus! you are a flower blooming. You smell like fruit.

The Fire Will Cease When You Can't Breathe

I was a poet once that stopped praying a long time ago. There is only one God. A girl knows his name. And all men
know his gift.
I am a girl in the chapel of the hospital who wanted to be alone but the butterflies were
watching. Waiting. The chapel is dark and theres a steady hummmmmm like a refrigerator churning. It's cold.

A girl once weeping leaves town into the lakeside, roots of a treehouse a rabbit with yellow eyes: watch me.
A girl once weeping willow with a rabbit living inside. The rabbit with one foot and holding on to a peppermint cane.

A girl thought the rabbit's foot will keep her safe. A rabbit thought the girls tears would keep him sober.

The Kingdom of Death surrounds me

All blood running blue rivers along the body a girl, she floats of course her body must burn!
a witch witch lives in the shade of the dogwood and Jesus used to live down that same dirt road.

Four more days kaleidescoping. A girls body swings like a pendulum: a copper: a threaded needle: a ball-
chain: a spigot: rabbit with a peppermint stick: dog-toothed calf.

If the poet were here, she could clarify, but the poet is dead, so she can't.

The Kingdom of Death surrounds me

A rabbit with a vial of my tears has mixed it into a drink with its peppermint cane, cut up a fig and
dropped it in.

When I was a girl someone told me stories of the one-legged rabbit, he was a in a kaleidoscope, he would
burrow in the soil deep enough to reach the underworld. He would come back and tell her what he saw.

A girl was cotton. A girl was cotton-

mouthed, a snake with the story of heaven. If a girl died here, in the boundaries of this hospital, she
may never leave.