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Sarah Emma Edmonds

ISSUE:  Winter 2005

—who enlisted in the Union Army as Frank Thompson

I am the breath of a fevered lion.
Everything here is made of beard.

The floors I sleep on hard as stale
bread. I am the cloth in the mouth

of a feeding lion. Each night I listen
to the unfamiliar snores of soldiers

and the moon’s bruises.
I am the breath swollen in the lung

of lion. I would have been flowering
a pot or chopping onions, lamb

limp in a pot. I am the remnants of a sail
across a sea. Here my hands peel

fur off wolves while I still walk
around in my mother’s body.

I am the boat that rows away by itself.
Are there any seas that know

women? And for a gun touched
by a woman’s hand, its collar

ripped open in heat, what could be better?
It’s about being dragged by the hair.

I am the dirty hair. I am the footsteps
under a tongue. I’d rather take a shot

in the arm than to miss the Mediterranean
and all of its marble.


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