“Cannibal Run” by Gary Pierluigi

I ate the last atom,
their seamless eyes
protein to frigid
blood on lips;
begging forgiveness
they had none, only
accusations until
the howling snow
covered their skulls. I
wanted to erect a twig,
plant a scarf, name a
street; take shelter
in the atom.


Father, I knew what
I was doing; forgive me.
He slapped both cheeks,
told me to wipe the
blood from my nose
and pray to the virgin
Mary. I spat on the cross
and made love to her;
surely she would
sprinkle me with
grace, and still there . was
no answer, no calling
in the clearing, only those
skulls buried in snow
betraying belief in the
kingdom come.


They wore
their white gloves to
twist in the thorn, all
but one, and he remained
silent as vinegar stung
hands and feet, running,
on rusted nails
standing dumb
I cowered and cried
without sound, screeching
wounds testament to the
darkened heart; a
frozen face of fear
running black top
caskets, graven images
in cut glass; no
prodigal son, father
to the driving rain
around steam trains
and those seven monuments
buried as light as
those seven skulls.


I drank deep the poison
there and was reborn, running.
Yes, father, I will do as you ask
and expect nothing
in return.


Your hands are steel.
They crack stainless.


Hungry child I run
hanging onto wishes
under a cloudless sky,
gentle winds ruffling
gauze curtains and
feathers dying like
dreams running
to the other
side, hope the greatest
drug; faith for the
sons of pain running naked.


He saw me coming
in the distance,
arms held open,
and I believed they
they would stay open.


Father, why
the enduring
shadow carved in hatred.


I ran running
out beyond the river.
Odd, these creatures that
bury themselves in
shallow earth and pray,
running faster, deeper, into
salvation’s comfort,
of all dreams
razor gauntlets , my
a running sore.
You bastard,
why did you die on
that hospital bed,
your seamless eyes
begging me to get you
out. I had nothing
to mourn. Hear
my heartbeat
running to hold
little arms and legs
that trusted your
quickening sand
in the hourglass.


I mailed you letter
bombs, ran in the
still street;
withdrew my
painted face
from the bedroom
window, each cricket
so luminous I fell
radioactive and ran
running to
idling metal,
pretending I wasn’t


I was always too
young to hurt.


Your fists became numb.


I ate them whole
to preserve the
the un-kept promises.








Since first being published in QuillsGary Pierluigi has been published in numerous poetry journals, including CV2, Queen’s Quarterly, On Spec, Filling Station, The Dalhousie Review, The Nashwaak Review, Grain, and Misunderstandings Magazine. He was short listed for the CBC 2006 Literary Awards in the poetry category, a finalist in the Lit Pop Awards, and received an honorable mention in The Ontario Poetry Society’s “Open Heart” Contest. His first poetry book, Over the Edge, has been published Serengeti Press.