Devil Lounges in a Bed of Flowers

When my king died, I was sitting in a field like this one,

thinking: Be not a body whose manner of passing is the only thing

that justifies having a Wikipedia page. After that came weeks

where everything seemed like tin whose joints seeped

a rich red rust. Believe me, the last thing I want to talk about

is how my king’s life had become more and more an echo of goodness,

echo of wisdom, than either thing itself, and how any life,

given enough scrutiny, goes to pieces. You know those moments

where it’s suddenly clear the world has passed you by?

By the time my king died, no one noticed. I looked weird

when I wept. Still, I like to think of him like one of those birds

of prey whose composure seems inviting when really it is

more a cathedral of disdain, not so much for wanting to touch it

as for thinking one can touch such creatures without consequence.


Charlie Clark studied poetry at the University of Maryland. His work has appeared in New England Review, Ploughshares, Threepenny Review, and other journals. A 2019 NEA fellow, he is the author of The Newest Employee of the Museum of Ruin (Four Way Books, 2020). He lives in Austin, TX.