The hope a mooncalf follows
is sacrifice for slaughter,
and yet the wings of swallows
still skip across the water. 

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Alone in the dark, the blood of blackberries
dripping down his shins, the morning star
looking back in the mirror through which he gazes,
moon-eyed and at odds with himself, he presses
his palms, but the nightmare doesn’t stop.
The sky turns and nothing this moment matters.
Not even the cold thorns of the blind wind
blowing hellward, not even the poisoned rainbow
that lights his prayers can give meaning to doubt.
The sullen belladonna that pricks his mind
will not comfort him in this final hour
and no guardian angel will come to touch his brow.
from The Unfinished Crusade, 2000
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© by Leo Yankevich