Gaunt Skies

By Richard King Perkins II

Spare me a few cast-off cells
so that I might take light
from someone—

she is only
minorly diabolical

a passing malediction
in heat-freckled skin

and immutable as fuck.

Let’s descend
into the petal of her belly

where bruises
and spongy fruits
are waiting to be given urges.

There is no peace within;

like a Belfast stripper
she starts out naked
and without substance

generating blindness
and frequency distortion.

She births us—

blood-clotted and muscadine,

into gaunt skies

of pillow dust
and phantom fire,

our cries drowned out
by sounds
which could easily be mistaken

for copulation
or shudders of dirty thunder.

Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, with his wife, Vickie, and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net, and Best of the Web nominee. His work has appeared in more than a thousand publications, including The Louisiana Review, Plainsongs, Texas Review, Hawai’i Review, Wisconsin Review, Sugar House Review and The William and Mary Review.