Elegy with thank-offering

out of the thin pink light of an early June morning
it smelled like Albuquerque—like a last bath of
rain on a deep-veined boulevard or a thousand orange
horses like peach trees rotting in the immaculate sun
like a light film of cigarette ash on gun oil
or a collection of bones—the place where Jesus wept
like the dirt under a palm reader’s fingernails or Lourdes
right after the war like a blue field of leeks gone to
seed or a bowl of fresh-cut flowers for eating
like a thatched hat used to collect our losses
or the crud that gathers on the walls of a sanitarium or jail
like a basin of holy water used to perfume the skin
or Trinity about an hour before sunrise—the reaper’s
reaper… like Diazepam and honeybees like sirens loathe to
sing and the fresh orange leaves left as a thank-offering
for the safe ferrying of a suicidal aunt

Cover art: “Worlds” by Ian Wells

Bryan Price

Bryan D. Price is the author of the forthcoming collection of elegies, A Plea for Secular Gods (What Books Press, 2023). His work has appeared in UCity Review, Rhino Poetry, and Diagram (among others). He lives and teaches in Southern California.