I Am a Beast, I Have All the Markings

Paula Mendoza


Someone’s hung himself
with a trouser leg
and it’s not the clown. 

Lay hands on him
undo the blemish
and peel that monkey

clung to his purpling
neck. Soft strokes choke
through holes, so

let there be less light,
explosions, applause.
Let the walls strip

their amaryllis
and shadows swell
the cheap seats. All he 

asked: Did you
forget to kneel? Do you
know my name?

Faltered at half mast
shut-ins at the rolling
split sea procession

crested steeples, cracked
ribs wide and ruddy-cheeked
choir boys hosannah 

Daniel in the den—
when he pried open
its mouth and rest his head.