Black Stones Fugue

 

Clif Mason

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 111 in 2007.
 

Wine drops were driven, claw hammers,
through the foreheads of derelicts.
Five suns burned out in my hand.

Plant managers drained workers’ blood
and transfused them with diesel fuel.
I wanted to save them but could not.

Bored store clerks pushed syringes
of blue stars into their veins.
Black stones fell from my mouth.

Someone dismembered a boy
and left his heart in the parking garage.
Five suns burned out in my hand.

A crowd of strangers surrounded me,
their minds full of rusting razor blades.
I wanted to save them but could not.

Skeletons sat in echoing houses and beat
each other with wrist bones and femurs.
Black stones fell from my mouth.

We carried dead children through our days.
They lay in state in our brains’ crystal coffins.
Five suns burned out in my hand.

A black moon drank black constellations
from a black sky.
I wanted to save them but could not.

People woke, rinsed faces with dead engine oil.
Blood blisters bloomed like small pox spots.
Black stones fell from my mouth.

Five suns burned out in my hand.
I wanted to save them but could not.
Black stones fell from my mouth.