All the heroes I've known are dead,
destroyed by some of the most subtle perfumes known
to man.

Well of course you know
that arsenic may not even be considered
when the dulcet cyanide smells
of almonds,
when a pearl of mistletoe, though unscented,
falls secretly into
the folds of an open-mouthed kiss
and leaves the lips blistering, raw,
and with a newly foisted taste
for mendacity
that may be timed and cleverly slated
around the rest of your altruistic aims.

Don't mock me.
I emasculate myself of my worthy name
(the harsh sepulchral word, the Latin
comparison to winter), but
not because I find it burdensome
(For, in my soled case, what is another 50 pounds?)
I do it because I want no clemency,
only the minuscule mercy that anonymity
might grant me.

I shall, naturally, don
new epithets,
most likely from tongues as coarse and black
as the fabric of my only companion:
my cloak, my dark wings;
yes, they billow over the grey hills
as I pass wraith-like among the dead,
checking bodies for