Baghdad dream

He's dancing alone,
naked, but with helmet and bayonet.
The music is loud like Polka.
The ballroom is full of gawking pinstriped figures
standing barefoot on the hardwood floor,
but he's twirling
too fast
to see their faces.

He bolts, ashamed,
booted now and fatigued,
down a Persian-rugged hall,
to steps that get steeper as his legs shorten
and the music fades.
He comes running
too quickly
to a gold-gilded roof,

where chilled with a surge
of cool night air, silver with smoke,
sweet with the smell of rotting meat,
the bends suck the oxygen
from the blood in his head,
leave it stagnant,
too heavy,
like limp slaughtered flesh,

and the gristle binding his bones
melts, feigning marbling in fine beef,
pretends it will make savory the aging,
but collapses him quickly
to skin-dotted, full-dress bones,
open-mouthed, thick with craze-eyed flies
too fresh
from naked Dachau dancers.

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