I’ve counted the dead
they are orange
with bouncing heads
fiddle music

some sit
with crouched legs
others pick grass
uncurl their hands
and wonder
why we open
them graves

On a Boat of Skin

You arrive with a porcelain mug
from a triptych’s third scene
where the prostitutes
and usurers conjugate.

In your original panel,
painted from milk,
you speak unto virgins
and angels who haggle
over bread dry as paper,
and in scene two, you pluck
unripened Chinese apples.

Arriving, as if from market,
you fold and lock the panels,
then offer me orange pekoe 
brewed from heavy water –
if you weren’t in triplicate,
I’d want to disown you.

TOM HOLMES is the editor of Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose and the author of seven collections of poetry, most recently The Cave, which won The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013 and will be released in 2014. His writings about wine, poetry book reviews, and poetry can be found at his blog, The Line Break. He is currently in his second year of the PhD Creative Writing program at The University of Southern Mississippi.