Image by Alvaro Reyes


the madrigal, volume iii

Off gin lane, waltzing

by george rawlins

fleas make their devotions to the primordial

copse of Tewkesbury’s powdered

periwig, buoyed by an airy faith in

the fog that blankets alabaster

headstones. Impossible figments once

ideas now congeal into flesh with

a taste for blood instead
of facts—hungry as Grub Street nibs they suckle

ink late into the work lamp dusk, without

patron or host, heartened with blue

ruin. You’d have ruled here, Tom, re

inventing us as if carving a haunch with blunt

intent, blood
browning on your spattered apron.

George Rawlins has a BA from Ohio University and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. He has recent publications in Anthropocene, The Common, Dreich, Illuminations, New Critique, One Hand Clapping, and New World Writing. His forthcoming poetry collection Cheapside Afterlife (September 2021, Longleaf Press) reimagines in 57 sonnets the life of the 18th-century poet Thomas Chatterton.