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Five Black Birds

                                    Allan Peterson

Last month Doug had Death in Gothic
sewn on his forearm like five black birds.

No one ever gets over it, loss, a war,
children’s tiny gravestones, failure.

No one gets over anything. Psychologists
might as well cut the crap about closure.

In the O.R. at Mercy, people are split wide open
as a form of help, deconstruction as a cure.

Meanwhile a fashion for attaching metal rings
and studs to the softest tissues is spreading,

and maps covering, once again, whole bodies
as if the earth had finally run out of paper,

and to illustrate anything of the inarticulate
the needles must be bled day and night.

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