La Cumparsita

Poetry, Volume 3; Issue 2

In the hospital courtyard at midnight, 
I grimly led the Cumparsita,
With Ivy Pole and vin Christine, 
Determined at the next milonga*, 
I’d hold my wife in close embrace.

Locked in a box made of plastic and steel, 
I glared at the nuclear sign.
The intercom voice frequently asked 
“Are you alright?”
And I snarled at the lead wall “I’m just fine.”

Rich in irony, a woman’s blood
Danced down the cold corridors of my leaden limbs.
Suffused by golden warmth,
I strapped on my armor, picked up my lance 
And lowered my visor.

Travellers returning to a ruined planet,
Stem cells scoured the Martian landscape of my blasted body,
Rebuilt scaffolding and castles with mindless precision,
And dispatched legions down quicksilver paths to the wasted hinterlands.
Strong shields against microbial axemen.

Hammered and heated and folded and beaten,
My mettle is proven.
No longer patient; edgy as a katana blade,
I’ll slash the future into ribbons of now.

No Cincinnatus*, I’ll not lay down my sword,
But keep it at the ready.
Until my silver hairs
Are rendered stardust
In Death’s crucible.

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