Best of the Net 2017  

Blood Fantasia

a loose cento-sestina

I am cosmically outrageous,        a tragic orchestra.      Mother dressed him in guava-
      colored lace crinolines        and the silence of the orchid.        His head, a smashed
piñata of bone and blood,        a country with 180,000 orphans,        the irony
       of barbed wire.

                               We step over the barbed wire        into the pasture, outrageous
flowers as big as human / heads.        The truth is you can be orphaned again
       and again and again.        Where my mother once peddled guavas,
she sat a small Dora piñata in her lap        and read a piece about Freud's Dora
       case study of hysteria,        putting the two Doras in dialogue with one another,
concealed among orchids of subtle idiosyncrasy.

                                                                                           In the orchid garden, winter
      like a barbed-wire sash on a white gown        for piñatas to line themselves up
in the snow.        The outrageous Pentecostal rush:        a flesh-pink guava
       growing inside you.        Pewter seedlings became moonlight        orphans,

       orphans are the only ones who get to choose their fathers—        he ghastly
orchid.        I say guava and mean childhood        stuck in a barb wire snare.
Outrageous        when I'm on the scene        so he'd get the first whack
       at the piñata.

                   Well, what's in the piñata? they asked.        This orphan,
this foundling,      this outcast.      Outrageous      when I'm at a party,
      my hot mouth for an orchid.      No bars, no barbed wire, no pulping
of books—      the guava of independence.

                                                                  Pyramids of onion, guava,
melon—all defy.      Flare like a shocked piñata      crisscrossed the sky
      like barbed wire.      The Baudelaire orphans climbed aboard, wide-
mouthed orchids.      Bibliography      is outrageous.

                                                                                             Poor little orphan boy
of five:      The haunches of dead lovers gleam      as clear in skulls      as in
the orchid's velvet crust.      Outrageous / when I
                                                      move                                    my body—.

- Roy G. Guzmán (from Jet Fuel Review)