The Leper Eye

“And then it happened, the mark
of the beast was laid upon him.”
Jack London, The Sheriff of Kona

The federal doctors in the old territory
developed the leper eye
mad Calvinists seeking signs
of evil in the universe
flesh elected somewhere to be lost
horror and slow decay
of the living temple, vessel
of grace, image of god

seven year incubation
then, the darkening
above the eyes
the peculiar shine on the darkening
the featureless face
hands without fingers
arms without hands
the blossoming horror

the walking horror with bells on
once a test of Christ
the lion face
roaring horror prowling paradise
by the nightmare light
of the leper eye

–Tony Quagliano


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