Zachariah McVicker • The Apostate’s Addendum

When we speak of the grotesque, we must also speak of love. In the predawn
          blooding before daybreak, the red vixen’s scream
Sounds like the murder of a child. But we know, in springtime, it’s a call of
          longing. In Calcutta, the beggars blind their children
So they’ll have more to eat. It is rare when love is saintly. Even if Jesus wasn’t
          the son of God, the crown of thorns still tore
The skin from his godly head. When the grape vine died midsummer, blue
          wasps fed on the night-black nidi for weeks.
When you can’t tell whether your lover cries out of pain or desire, you ache
          the more for the body. It would be a lie
To say we are not fulfilled by what we inflict. When God allows Job to suffer
          the trials, it is because he is ruthless. We were made
In that image. The man with the gun in his mouth knows this most of all–
          that we prosper in the depravity of these mercenary days,
Buying our lives at the price of our lives. Speak then of the picked clean
          beauty of our chitinous souls, our dry starch hearts of husk.
In Tibet, monks give their death-readied bodies to buzzards. But they call
          them Dakini, or sky dancers. Find here the varnished
Gleam of the macabre – you buff it over, it’s gunmetal, it’ll take you home. Be
          good, traveler. There are still many things to see.

Zachariah McVicker is a first-year MFA candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2012, he graduated from Ohio State and was a fellow at the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets..