Blindfolded into Sleep
Consider Lady Jane, how Delaroche painted her
with eyes bound in white silk. In a white
dress, with so much gloss upon her, she shines.
She shines like an optic blight. Cover your eyes.
Morning comes with shots, with blows.
The black hood the executioner wears at beheadings,
the mumbled petition for forgiveness,
the fall of the axe— whose eyes, face, lip in its down
turning should be masked? At dawn,
they line up spies, blindfold and tie them to a post,
as if their eyes would capture the report. Smoke-
blurred, the faces of the firing squad fix on first light's
mark. Like a daguerreotype, the dead reflect the faces
of their executioners. As I slip silk over my eyes to blot
out the leaking brightness— all gleam, all stars, the moon,
its glimmer— I wonder
what hood goes on what head.
How death has so many protocols.
How the victim's eyes staring into the barrel
bend bullets into the air. Or so it seems.