Lust is an angel whose halo remains after his shadow
vanishes, licked like a pillar of salt until he melts
like wax into vastness, a candle I weary from use
in so many masses, ritualistic and Roman in my appetite

for excess, dressed for the lechery of its gluttonous pageant
in the ostentatious vestments of a degenerate, a leonine shadow
of equal talents and missed opportunities, every hedonist knows this:
that if you wrestle with an angel and win, then


you can use him to fly to wherever you wish,
like a demon released from its imprisonment in waterless places
to the freedom of an oasis, a genie whose three
wishes manifest into existence a ménage-à-trois in which, against all

gods, heretics participate unapologetic, all it takes is a stranglehold
on his throat with ropes of come, thick glistening twists
of flame rubbed out by brazen wrists as if smoke
choked from a lamp’s curvaceous neck, until he acknowledges it’s


more than he can swallow, the handling of this contest
between tonight and tomorrow, right and wrong, above and below,
ecstasy and sorrow, whenever we finish it’s as if we’re
meeting after traveling separately from two ends of eternity, across

infinite distances, a gulf of æther bridged in an instant
by the shrinking vastness of increasing sadness, a solitude turned
over in trembling hands fingering again and again the cavernous
holes of a soul’s growing discontent, a man withheld by


the shortness of his life’s end, breathless as sin testifying
against its own merits in a mock trial god attends
but no one judges, since we all have been there
before, vanity is a bonfire in the wilderness where shadows

of prophecy shiver, tossing off onto flames fistfuls of blistering
gifts, scapegoat flesh sweating atonement as if paying in dew
for what wayward Hebrews did before us, unchaste heroes who
knew the route to salvation lay in a tradition we


continue whenever we follow the whispers of temptation, voice faint
as a breeze waiting to fill with fear the ears
of saints, apostate as lovers who desert their cheated hearts
to martyr themselves on the battlefield bed of the fight

between light and shadow, breathe in slow or breathe in
quick this breath whose name is the bane of him
whose shame it is to never have kissed with eagerness
the lips of a stranger whose spirit vanishes before dawn.