John, Whom I Beheaded

by Evan Murtagh

knells his allotted time
from the earth’s long-suffering edge. Cedar smoke
turned brimstone
by the mage’s cataracts
turned gilded threads that crest the hill
where her once-wife’s life is lain
like an umbilical. John is
in asylum, law’s weathervane,
his body accumulated
like merit. John is maddened
in the pine needles, is saved
by the cenobite’s mantle
by sex work
by double mastectomy scars
on a man. John
is ash-bound, leafed
by himself, is a body
lashed to action 
by a picket line
by love. John is the hand,
the happenstance, the whole world’s door
through which each thing must leave
and be inborn when nothing carnal or corporeal
can save it. John, whom I beheaded,
is dismantled
from the 

Evan Murtagh is poet from Birmingham, UK. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Birmingham, and his writing explores the intersections between ecology, queer identity and faith. His work has previously appeared in The Purple Breakfast Review, Constellate and Stone of Madness Press.

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