every exquisite thing

heidi andrea restrepo rhodes

(After Sonya Sanchez Arias’ sculpture, “Dorian Gray,” after Oscar Wilde)

that the most ordinary flower might

bloom, entire worlds crumble

that your dress may twirl & catch the candle gleam,

fingers bleed by needle, child bones grow old by night

the reek of oil harvested, the brutal boring of terrestrial pores,

of slick & serum, stolen earth: a cancering theft ripens

a five hundred year old violence,

a plastic violence dancing in the glee of a mirror

oh dancer in your everyday routine, that you inhale

the sweet scent of your own skin, an ocean chokes on pile-up

a mass grave of coral, bodies that once felt the tethered pulse

of missing a sister, a manifest exploitation, water sweating human dust

you set aside the news, comment on the sun,

how it glistens on the gentle waves

how beautiful, how marvelous, you say

how divine accumulation tastes, divorcing sugar from its labor deaths

hiding the afterglow of tragedy in the spell of pleasures,

luxuries, wretched white wall of happiness designed to obscure the view

every exquisite thing you’ve known has been

somebody else’s drowning, a vast field of obliterations

your paradise, a whole planet

on its way to extinction


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