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It’s easy to imagine

her, her body shaped

around her pain

the way a tree grows

around a field stone, bends

to the givenness of the thing.

But beyond that,

what do we know?

Was she young, old, fat,

skinny, angry, resigned?

We know only that the blood,

the slow muddy endless river

of it, stained everything,

her touch, her breath, her gaze,

until her life became a drama

of evasion.

Then one day he happened

by on urgent


coming from a showdown

heading to a showdown,

between plundering hell and

robbing graves,

and she grew crazy

bold, grabbing hand

over fist every limb

in her way until she blazed

a trail straight to his feet

and balled tight

the hem of his robe

in her tainted fist.

It’s easy to imagine, years later,

Her dilemma: was it the power that came

out from him

she cherishes the most,

or the way he spoke her name

for the first time,


Mark Buchanan


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