A Fifth To Redden

I’ll spend hours eating all your kisses
A feast for me from dusk til dawn
Eat them all, sour tart,
Some with sugar, some with blood.
I’ll beat the devil’s maw for swallowing
And fill a prophet’s head with food for thought
And spill my grains at Hades’ grave.
What I leave at table
Is food for sterner mouths
No tiny snack – men’s skins fill and fatten
With careless suffering
When you give more than a kiss to eat:
Through broken teeth the fatter ones will tell
Unless their swollen tongues forsake them
That dusk’s end is no mere dawn
But a gorgeous rising in their gorge.


Cover of TLR's "The Lives of the Saints" Issue

Derek Henderson is alive and well in Salt Lake City. He is the author of Thus & co-author, with Derek Pollard, of Inconsequentia. At present, his favorite quote is Ashbery’s assertion that “You can’t say it that way anymore. / Bothered about beauty, you have to / Come out into the open, into a clearing / And rest.”


“A Fifth To Redden” was originally published in The Lives of the Saints (TLR Fall/Winter 2011).