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He can say it was a painting

He can say we were the painting

Or that the painting wasn’t painting

And we only happen to ourselves

We can say we kept things running

by creating distractions

from the hideous truth

of how things run

That we were broken

That we lingered near a broken factory

That we had broken

We can say that the disappointment

of slicing into a leek

and not finding the requisite layers

but a thick white inedible core

is not the disappointment

of approaching a sleeping animal

only to learn that it is dead

but it does nudge one slightly

further into despair

We said despair

We meant the strings of impossible

instruments that they made

in the factory

That we had seen

That were broken

That there were different paintings

That could be played as songs

We had seen other things

That we had seen

That had come unstrung

And blown between adjacent bridges

Whose river had presented us a city

That was broken

That we had been

That we were broken

That was our city

This was our city

that was a song replaying itself in the dark

from They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re FullFind it in the library

Copyright © 2014 Mark Bibbins
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Mark Bibbins Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.