Rebecca Morgan Frank

from Junkyard Temples

There are no children here in Solanum, where life is reproduced
hydroponically.  A finger can be sliced off, or any part, and planted

so that a  full body sprouts, identical to the first.
When a man fights with his wife, he divorces her by chopping off

her toe, thereby creating a new wife who will follow his merits and opinions.
The old wife, in turn, slices off his thumb, birthing a husband who brings her tulips.

If a daughter accidentally tells her mother what she thinks, the daughter chops
off the mother’s arm, and harvests a new parent with no grudges to hold.

When a lover betrays a woman, she exacts her revenge by removing an ear 
from which she grows a virgin body.

What is lost never grows back, but the ones who are loved
remain eternally perfect.

from Junkyard Temples

It is impolite to grieve in Erythonium.

There are no markers on graves,
and all photographs of the dead are buried.

Mothers of lost children are immediately handed
orphans from the street, or filled with spare fetuses.

Surviving lovers are reassigned to one another
in the name of productivity.

Erythonium  is the largest manufacturer of candles and crosses,
and tiny figurines painted with exacting detail.

The Gross National Product remains high at all times.

from Junkyard Temples 

The people of Borogina have forgotten kings and ministers, 
for they are ruled by memory chips as small as a baby’s thumbnail.

When the device tells them to die, they lie down in the streets, 
or during supper, or sometimes in the grip of a kiss.

When it tells them to forget, they no longer see
the beggar’s hand or their old dog dead in the street.

Any need to remember, or choose, is conveniently
erased, for all decisions have been prophesied

from the number of peas they will eat,
to when they will scratch their heads and turn.

from Junkyard Temples 

No outsider has ever seen Dulcamara,
the well-fenced city of the chosen.

Dreamers throw themselves over the high voltage
borders, hoping their scorched flesh will carry them in.

If the moment of death occurs on the side of Dulcamara,
the corpses’ offspring will be admitted in as full citizens.

If the body falls back to the side of hopeful refugees,
a lost father is not enough, the mother will then try and enter,

believing that even though her children are orphaned,
the unseen land will bring a better life.