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Antidote for Night

        So much as close my eyes

and a flayed Labrador is laid at my doorstep.

        And here’s the same bone

lodged in the slippery pottage

          of my heart

where this man croons, Baby you’re so sweet

until I take his head between my hands

                   and lay it on my breast.

    There’s the moon in the high window, her wall-eye

glancing off me, and a few bobbing stars,

every tawdry shining thing.

    I’ve identified Venus more times

than I can count as an agent for insomnia,

a broad sail that catches the wind and slides away.

    Not even halfway through the hours,

his fitful sleep, wheeze of a saber-saw,

waves receding on a rocky shore,

breath whip-snaking down a chute, until his body

forgets—how still, how close the kingdom,

one stalled-gulp away,

and I jostle his dying shoulder—he recoils, yes,

rebels, back now, mouth full of silver,

    What? he moans to darkness, what?

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Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2015
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Marsha de la O 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.

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