Keys for a Crown

I stopped, stunned by flower-
shrine—hidden, not shy—
my companions, unenraptured,

pulled us past. Could any see
Tall stalks—rope tying keys
to the papal tiara. I stared.             They shone:

Red flutes, chilled in the water-
fall of Fall, ignite blankets of drizzle,
sing fire into existence. Ferocious       they stand;

They stand—Sing fire
into existence, despite cloaks
failing to drown the inferno:

Photons burst forth
to catch our eyes                         do we see!—?

the fire glint of corneas,
shimmering the gloom!—
Yet we trod, surrounded, alone,

to concrete-colored rooms:
unchanging stockyards
of thoughts so ancient they cease

to live, yet the decrepit light
is stoked by Cardinals whose
cries smother the flutes’ fire.

Screams of power’s passion—
Christ’s blood shed as assurance         Don’t you see?
Promises—eternal life!—

just hopes hoarded by the few to pacify the
masses?—fire kept smoldering
to heat empty buildings

of beings less alive than
the love they built
to keep money in the coffers,

prayers in the faithful, lust from 
living, flowers’ fire
from pew-sat people.

Yet they stand—I stop. 
Outside there is wailing,
gnashing of teeth.

The flames surge, I stand—
staked—lover and beloved.
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