This Is the Hour of Lead
Dress me in burlap & bone. Kiss me,
kill me. Kill me later. Kill me again
as arbitrary blackness gallops in.
I shut my eyes & all the world drops dead.
Forgive me, the wound is hard to place—
part voltage, part rain
twisting galactic, slow, beneath
black nebulae. & shreds
my heart’s meat & gristle.
On board the train of ghosts
guns hum with promises of taxidermy.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mistake
a black bullet for a Sunday blessing.
Hung before me like hosts
are crossing guards in white gloves,
doing & undoing the blood river,
their buttons of simulated bone. Condolences
on the backs of postcards put an end
to the vexing as the conquered gods,
like oily links of the anchor’s chain, say
hush-hush-hush. Nothing will save you.
[Emily Dickinson, Suki Kwock Kim, D.A. Powell, Sylvia Plath, Evie Schockley, Bruce Beasley, Philip Jenks & Simone Muench, Lisa Sewell, John Gallaher & G.C. Waldrep, Stacy Gnall, Denise Duhamel, Marisa de los Santos, Robert Pinsky, Tracy Brimhall & Brynn Saito, Lynn Emanuel, Kenneth Koch, Terrence Hayes, Brandi Homan, Jackie White, Tyehimba Jess]