Landscape with Mutilation

by Sarah D’Stair

Artwork by Alexa Gaffaney


One sees death

for the first time

as bees glaze

across the window pane,

the glass framing

the picture like Giotto

framed the

descent into hell,

bodies contorted

in perfectly parabolic

brushstrokes while

demon beasts lick


with their tails.



the dizzied vermin body

begs from one branch

to the next, his canvas



for too much green,

branches mangled parabola

like Giotto’s bodies as they

swell into each other


while below, an upstart wren

nicks her beak responsibly

into the soil

even as her birdmates

lift away, off to seek

another pleasure.


And that large blot

of brownblack

behind the slight

flecked leaves?

One can make out

a red-tailed hawk,

the solitary shifting eye.


The chase lasts only a moment.

The bright denizens

of that lonely place watch

the small body clawed,

flayed alive, flesh tendrilled.


End scene.  And I wonder,

is there a martyr in this

painted mystery play?

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