After Goya’s “St. Francis Borgia Helping a Dying Impenitent,” 1788 – a poem by Andrew Rihn

After Goya’s “St. Francis Borgia Helping a Dying Impenitent,” 1788

the intervention
of a human operator,
evidence, and burning coal.

synonymous with the cheap thrill,
the work of the soul, exquisite science,
unaware that the world will know who is right.

rebellion against this foul process of harvesting.
haunted cases? midnight sun?

there is a way to show everything without blood.
and yet the need, obligation of murmuring
shadows and light, interplay.

Andrew Rihn is a writer of essays, poems, and scholarly articles. He is the author of several chapbooks, including America Plops and Fizzes (sunnyoutside press) and The Rust Belt MRI (Pudding House). Along with his wife, the writer Donora A. Rihn, he co-authored the chapbooks The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: An Election Cycle (Moria Books/ Locofo Chaps) and The Day of Small Things (Really Serious Literature). Together, they live in Portage Lakes, OH with their two rescue dogs.

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