The Chocolate Soldier

I so loved you we filled the heat
Of love between the full moons,
The two of us sunk into each other
At the base of the Chocolate Mountain.

We held hands and walked the sands
Footprints in the black mountain flesh
Speckled with mica, and all the while
White bullets were plumbing
The hot red-blue folds of me
There under the shade
Of the Chocolate Mountain
Which had been bent up
You explained --- ever the scientist ---
From a primeval gush
A million or so years ago.

§     §     §

I remember dancing around you
On open sand pits, you humming a song
("Death and the Maiden," you said ---
You were quite the musician, weren't you?)
We danced, you played, and as I recall,
You licked the sweat of my brow. You were
Weeping. And you wouldn't tell me why.

At moonfall the Sonoran desert
Smells of creosote and dust.
Perhaps you never knew, until that night.
Perhaps you never knew you told me
You had the wasting disease.

Some called it "The Slim Disease" ---
Thrushes in the springtime,
Cat-scratch in the fall.
Meningitis by morning,
Lymphoma in the afternoon,
Salmonella at night.
And for our last winter together:
Candidiadis, Kaposi's, and...ah...
My brainless dementia.
The uniform vocabulary of our dying
Was quite lovely, wasn't it love?

I never conceived such a murderous love;
Never thought I would turn skeletal ---
The worm shaking my body to death.

I'm breathing hard now, in labor to deliver
Your fucking babe, sweet Adonis. Your infant
Is splitting again and again inside me.
You Dachau lover. Thanks, asshole.
I'm dying to be with you again.

I'm your eighty-five pound love now
Mewling at the moon god.
At nights I foul the winding-sheets,
See visions of praying ladies
And gorgons from out the caves.
Our mountain love is at an end.

It's not just.
You dead.
Me, The Chocolate Soldier
(That's what you called me)
Filled with bullets,
Dying of love.

--- C. A. Amantea