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The Temple of Many Hands by Christopher Locke < back  : index  :  next >   

R e t u r n i n g   W h a t   W a s   G i v e n

I wanted to sell
my Datsun to the junkyard,
and almost drove past the gate;
a driveway obscured by weeds
and shrubs, newspapers
scrapbooked against a chain link fence.
The car stalled as I pulled in
and I thought: it knows it’s coming here
to die. It knew as clearly
as a dog I once found on the highway;
legs crushed, torn patches
of blue flesh glistening.
After I swaddled it
off to the vets, the animal
understood. Its eyes read the needle’s
intention and the whole body shook
with the sense of its own butchery.
The man gave me a fair price
so I handed him the keys,
running my hand down the hood.
I stood waiting for a bus
and counted the money.
I wondered if my dying
would announce itself
so brazenly; a brute
kicking over the tables and chairs.
Isn’t that what we want,
some struggle to prove our choices
were worth it, instead of arms
flung wide to embrace
what can not be loved?


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