A cherub encoils its halberd in sparkling cat gut,
teasing the Xenian children,
a jury-rigged lyre draped across callused claws,
Le Monde de Marseilles’ mandorla like
glistening, dew-drenched jaws of too often forgotten gods
redoubled in glorying auras,
sepulchrally roaring hypnotic corruptions of Mahler,
like kittens squeeze their treacly impressions
of woebegone Meret Becker’s Na?! and Zum Diktat
in grinding their twenty-six snickering milk teeth,
batting at slumber-slowed sparrows
and the corn-colored clods 
of sleep that bud about velvety eye lids;

the Xenian children 
hurl an empurpling fingerling 
(thrown from a trebucket, 
 trellising pvc enwreathed
 and winched with bread ties
 nicked from the Wonder Bread
 bakery outlet’s dusted and
 black-eyed ruins some
 stone’s throw south of the
Short St. station);
it shreds in a bristling flurry
of violet confetti, screeched
through the stridulous wires
of tempered gut, still
haunted by woebegone
caterwauls cracked across
flickering, nymph-filled lamps
and prattling fence slats
slipping away to sand
and the wriggling reprimands
risen from dust disturbed—

Their sweet potato stomachs seized
and beat upon manholes’ stubborn bungs,
the corroded stints of aortas bayed,
of aortas shriveled like cigarette filters;
aortas sallow as sticky stains of Steel
Reserve curled in the screw of culvert;
these sticky feelings finnicky silence sheds,

like lapsteel’s spry and celestial depth,
svelte wires lissomely creased by a songster’s breast
but a chore-worn child’d pinched,
left grating gallant crests
down dissonant rails of twine,
a mandolin combed among maundering cheese knives;

throbbing spine of a sexton
wound around lavish italian hems,
who’d starched and straightened strident cassocks,
nestled his restive chest on a cardinal’s brim,
a vermilion condom cribbing at crackling wires,
frail, cracking spires spun
to baffle the radiant tongue of a lyrebird
splinted in gilt contempt
and some luminous self-effacement
lashed and bent in the place
of felicitous quills and a tail feather’s
fey and unplumbably thunderous grace—

What piqued zuchetto’s stem doth pick at a cardinal’s heart
or thrum the sepulchral parts (no surplice sheathes,
nor dandled and pinned upon velvety jowls
of a reliquaire’s plangently ulcerous gut)
that wind and chime among murmurous stars;

what sonorous tines sly children trill,
rimed bedside bars, the gut-encoiled halberds,
tarpons’ gills, the disquieting hours they’ve
lost amid counting out listless crafts
and masteries measureless needed,
here meted and met to but
skin a cat—