Greg Santos is the author of Rabbit Punch! and The Emperor’s Sofa. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. His writing has appeared in The Walrus, Geist, Black Tongue Review, and The Best American Poetry. He is the poetry editor of carte blanche and lives in Montreal.


The End of Desire is the End

Greg Santos


At long last he came to the moat,
but the shifty-eyed child under the pagoda
caused his lordship to doubt the oracle’s predictions
and he clutched the tattered manuscript tighter to his chest.

In the grotto, the baker’s daughter in an embrace
with the young haberdasher, makes the fateful discovery
that his birthmark is on the wrong cheek
and the townsfolk are never to hear from her again.

By the Canterbury Inn, the mob gathered
calling out for blood and retribution
only to be greeted by an empty carriage and its contents:
a bouquet of withered rose petals and a monacle.

At the rooster’s crow, the apothecary and his assistant
finally finished burying the evidence and they celebrated
with a snifter of port each only for the apothecary to notice
his speech slurring too much too soon.

At noon the thirteen guests gathered around the table
and eagerly awaited the tycoon’s further instructions
only for the timid young typesetter to notice a card at her place setting
which read: Goodbye, my compatriots. Don’t look up.