—Viktor E. Frankl
The Count bites the tavern waitress on the inside
of her arm and the monsignor’s niece on the wrist.
In a kingdom of perpetual summer, those who feed
in similar fashion stare out from a seething of leaves.
One bloodstream is never enough. Why else reverence
the serial slaughter or an existentially belligerent heart?
Wipe the surprised look off your face. Give a monster
his due. We envy breathing after the breathing of others
has stopped. This could have been me, the mind rumors,
certain the truth is like fog crossing grasses: indifferent.
Incising the monsignor’s niece is laughable reparation
for all the times of he has had to settle for the children
of the poor who unravel and weep after being bitten.
If he were to hear: This one has a child in the dirt—
meaning spare him—the Count might soliloquize:
I’m not quite God. All are buried in it, some rise.
Roy Bentley, finalist for the Miller Williams prize for his book Walking with Eve in the Loved City, is the author of seven books of poetry; including, most recently, American Loneliness from Lost Horse Press, who is bringing out a new & selected in 2020. He has published poetry in december, The Southern Review, New Letters, Crazyhorse, Shenandoah, Blackbird, Prairie Schooner, and Rattle among others.