What Is to Give Light Must Endure Burning

roy bentley

—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.