Collecting the Faggots

The witch is secure.
Confessed, smiling,
hip to hip with the devil,
she’s a short way home.
No more basements,
walks alone
or children sneering.
When the fire is ready to eat
the witch will be serving.

there’s this problem with the faggots.
They’re doing cart wheels around the forsythia.
They’re playing The Joker Is Wild near the wishing well,
forgetting the sheep at the laundromat
and pressing gold leaf in the cabbage patch.
All in all.

Soon comes the executioner’s net
collecting the faggots
to ring the lone witch
at the top of the hill.
The afternoon is well established.

Won’t you save the faggots?
Hell-senders are setting them like candles in a birthday cake
row on row at the feet of the witch.
Good God, tell what new things the fire likes to eat.
The kindly bailiff will send the young girls into town
to buy hamburger and marshmallows.
Maybe then the fire will let the faggots go.

It’s no good.
The flames begin, higher and higher,
glistening like the Seagram building on the fourth of July.
The faggots, enflamed, let out
the usual cries, crackle like ice cubes, and die.

But look.
Already the witch is free
riding high with her devil boyfriend, their torch Cadillac
igniting the thatch heads of the citizens
like scarecrows in the August drought.
See everyone run screaming from the city.

I am almost tired now
walking all day in the village,
one on one,
collecting the fun lovers,
laughing in the hybrid way,
casting red darting looks
like carp in Chinese decorations.

I am striking a match with every faggot I meet,
broomstick between my thighs,
sniffing for fire,
looking to satisfy the witch in me.
Can’t you see her still?
Hair blowing, riding like the sun
across the sky,
all things trembling in love.

copyright 1987 by Harry Kondoleon

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