Farm & Fleet

The branding iron,
touches down, rapidly
denatures the surface
and leaves

a symbol, a word, initials:


that weep, I am yours.

A permanent mark requires:
1) strong fire
2) white temperatures
3) white tempers

Even the youngest Elray boy,
now heir to Elray’s Farm & Fleet
understands this—
to be burned deep into the lobes
a memory must be heated
in the flame of pain.
How else would the bruises
of his father’s belt
bloom with such specific purples
during the deeper stages of his sleep?

The iron goes in—
the metallic atoms are exalted
in the crucible and
energy always has a home to return to—
the water, the wind, your flesh, my flesh,
the heaving catacombs in the sky
where light echoes like sound
and the stars cease to spin.

But what is mine is mine

says the chattel’s scream
as it glides out over the pink tongue
through chattering black teeth.

My pain is mine,
my despair is mine,
the ashes of my burned canopy
are mine
and cannot be claimed
with fire or metal
or any other earthly
atomic bouquet.