5 Faces of the Lord of May: Anniversary Poems for Carlos Hernandez

1. sungod

red to the touch
slathered in
no lake can
quench you
nor bog
cool you
see, the denim of your jeans is
burnt away
all your clothes are merely
scorch marks

2. jongleur

sing me songs of
i will shower you in
all my copper kisses
largesse to this populace
of one

tie up my ribbons
in the back
i will fasten on your mask
let us make our carnival
every day
a parade

3. ravenboy

caw-caw cartwheel
tumbleweed tumble me
caper caper play steal
frocktail feathercoat
wing sing tickle giggle
black-beak black-velvet
peck peck sand stride
glossy buss busy kiss
grin shiver fly

4. canaryprince

i meet the canary prince at a fairy hop, where he points up and says plaintively, “i always trust a dance hall with a disco ball, don’t you?” i happen to agree, and make him a curtsey as curtesy demands of me, declaring, “dare you dance?”

a canary prince, they say, dares the devil, fine as any fellow in yellow silk, and he confides, “i can moonwalk to michael jackson all the way out the door,” which indeed he proceeds to do as smooth as the silver pour of milk with which our queen cools her tea.

no one has danced so backwards since ginger rogers joined our fête–it’s splendid!–and i tell him so, taking up his hands and twirling him about, all his hollow bones light and precise like piccolo trills.

he is the smell of limoncello and green brocade; a topaz grows on his forehead where i kissed him last we danced.

“so you remember me?” i ask, and he murmurs that memory into spanish moss hung round with spiders, curtaining our private tenderness from their prying gaze.

5. magnolia

i think of you in the first blossoms
forsythia, dogwood, magnolia
the circus-hearted tulip, the bashful violet

you are the ever-flowering tree
the year-round blossom

those heart’s blood petals you scattered on my pillow
I remember them still
unbruised and fragrant
warm as skin

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