Render, Render

Thomas Lux

 
   Boil it down: feet, skin, gristle,
   bones, vertebrae, heart muscle, boil
   it down, skim, and boil
   again, dreams, history, add them and boil
   again, boil and skim
   in closed cauldrons, boil your horse, his hooves,
   the runned-over dog you loved, the girl
   by the pencil sharpener
   who looked at you, looked away,
   boil that for hours, render it
   down, take more from the top as more settles to the bottom,
   the heavier, the denser, throw in ache
   and sperm, and a bead
   of sweat that slid from your armpit to your waist
   as you sat stiff-backed before a test, turn up
   the fire, boil and skim, boil
   some more, add a fever
   and the virus that blinded an eye, now's the time
   to add guilt and fear, throw
   logs on the fire, coal, gasoline, throw
   two goldfish in the pot (their swim bladders
   used for "clearing"), boil and boil, render
   it down and distill,
   concentrate
   that for which there is no
   other use at all, boil it down, down,
   then stir it with rosewater, that
   which is now one dense, fatty, scented red essence
   which you smear on your lips
   and go forth
   to plant as many kisses upon the world
   as the world can bear!
 
From The Cradle Place by Thomas Lux. Copyright © 2004 by Thomas Lux. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

A Little Tooth by Thomas Lux
Your baby grows a tooth, then two,
Dead Horse by Thomas Lux
At the fence line, I was about to call him in when
Gradeschool's Large Windows by Thomas Lux
weren't built to let the sunlight in
Onomatomania by Thomas Lux
the word for the inability to find the right word,
You and Your Ilk by Thomas Lux
I have thought much upon


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