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Kiss of Death


Kiss of Death


A poem by Richard Schiffman, after dragon fly image
by photojournalist Gerald Herbert


That little tragedian, the dragon fly,
wings smeared with earth’s black blood,
stands glued to its stem like an orator.
It will never leave this soapbox now.
Just hangs there spread-eagled, a wee-Jesus
on a crucifix of grass. Some undertaker
draped its rainbow in a shroud of pitch,
shined its tar-ball shoes, closed those onyx
eyes for good. Now it stands an effigy
of itself. It wants to tell us that it died
for our sins. But its lips are sealed.
This orator is without a speech.
One of the meek, so busy inheriting
the earth, it never noticed the evil tide
bubbling up from earth’s slit jugular,
it never saw that glistening drop of oil
on Judas’s lip.

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