Milk in the Mirror

Woe to you because of the smoldering within you. It will devour your flesh visibly, tear your souls secretly, and prepare you for each other.
          —The Book of Thomas1


Woes upon the godless
who flee the darkness to
seek the light, not to see
it but be seen by it,
a scattering of seed

so frightened at not yet
knowing fully the thick
glowing whiteness of its
pale, sweating innocence,
necessity bleeds out

droplets weeping sweating
brightness of sweet milk in
deepest need of being
perceived, indeed received,
by something other than

the night, swallowing whole
the sea of glass its warmth
holds as one’s mouth does pearls
of glistening teeth, heat
consuming its cold ash

as Vesuvius did
an entire town way back
when, erupting amid
a village’s hot, hot
pursuit of Sodom-like


but not quite Sodomite,
delight, Onanist’s plight
purging filth pillaging
with iron-fisted and
heaviest hand jealous

of its inhabitants’
decadent disregard
for what is right, drunkards
Pompeiian no mind, scarred
and ignited by

their defiant crudest
brand of lewd, corrupting
voluptuousness, that
angry mountain ending
it as fluid flame hit

shamelessly with neither
pause nor pity those who
lived to their fullest lives
of no shame, but unlike
the ancients, punished by

desire’s pent-up passion,
powerful ancestral
experts, antecedent
inventors of my sin,
I just cannot stop.

1“Woes upon the Godless (143,8–145,1)” in The Book of Thomas: Introduced by John D. Turner: Translated by Marvin Meyer, the seventh tractate of Nag Hammadi Codex II (NHC II.7) in The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The International Edition: Edited by Marvin Meyer, published at New York by HarperOne in 2018; page 243.