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The Wounds

ISSUE:  Spring 1999
Wound of the sea. Ships’ poultice
ground in its maw. Sky wound
the sun pours through. Seeding
the skin with lesions, sealing
in cataracts eyes that, on first
opening, loved it. Wound

of our bodies, condemned
to extend in space that boils
with corrosive particles—
without a whisper
they drill to the bone.

The tower, forgetting
the years we lifted it
stone by stone,
threw down its shadow—
Spartacus and his followers
jewelled with flies
the length of the Appian Way.

Then one who gave
his palms to the nails
said the only defense
is none.
With iron
drawn from his hands,

we fashioned ploughshares,
maces spined
like the morning star,
and instruments
for the torturer’s dungeon
under the drains of the tower.


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