No. 16

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No. 16 ‘Poder’

with her bow
she strikes a cord
targetless,
but eleven strings

soft metal shield
over fingerbones
like a breastplate, pinky
nail painted blue

she is old as the
idea of a rucksack

tap shoes painting prints
on cement, her tiny
animal paws making
claw-clicks

violin under chin, tied
with several shoe-
laces—red & white,
brittle
as gums—to the
mast
of her guitar

she is colorless
like a shadetree’s shade

singing I’ll take food, any
food that’s leftover
so wing-clipped
it’s like a church service
in Spanish
looking down at the slate-floor

ceiling to those
poor ground wretches

pluck a note
like a tear tickled
out her eye with
a feather—her bow drawn
back, dripping prophecy
down her chin

like meat juice
that evaporates from
jerky skin

too hot to rise, too lazy
to move, suffocating like
broth over a boiler

plinko-noise-fade, dainty
and immediate, lucky
deaths

someone’s mama,
someone’s sister

one girl’s ancient history
presentation—traveller and home
dweller
song-raft, buoyed
by an overtone’s undertow
swirling below her tap shoes,
reflecting in her Paul
McCartney’s, reflecting
the stares we
never used on
the man in the door
his own
travelling salesman

lucky break
fasting of reality like
15 minutes in the tannery
when she sings
her prophecy, her
truth gloat
it is an animal purge

I am swallowed like
a fish swallows,
two-piece neck
the way birds break

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