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ISSUE:  Summer 1994
Pick for grubbing shiny roots sweet
as a hog’s testicles. Far out
on the mountain’s spine, over
the jump-off to South Carolina,
you see the berries bright as fire
seeming to float on a tether
after leaves are gone, and under
them the knot and nut and nugget
of potency the Chinese love,
the root powders that warm and rev
old age and thrill the flesh more than
liquor and whip desire and even
heal the black bruise of blues and send
a torch out through the veins and limbs
many colored as northern lights,
ringing under ordinary dirt.


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