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Vol. XXVII, no. 1

Bill Rasmovicz

Anvils in overcoats.
Battery acid come alive.

Whatever I think of them, they hear
and drag the garbage cans into the street, flood the cellar
with rain.

This morning, one wants the crumpled fruit of our
Japanese cherry.
It watches me watch it, my hands around the throat

of a coffee cup.
This morning I can hardly hold myself up; the air,
too thin.

. . . .

The knit of its wings tight as Kevlar, its acetylene gaze
and butcher-block eyes: Who,
I have to wonder, is watching whom?

. . . .

At 5 a.m. I wake to their cacophonous debates
on how many of them
it would take to lift the steeple
from the church, to pick clean the bald fruit

of the stars.

One I've recently heard tried to mimic the sound
of a chicken next door.

. . . .

What they want are more gravestones to topple,
frost to whet their blighted voices.

They'd have me believe my bones were looted from the rubble
of Warsaw,
that my heart is a nest of razor wire.

At night
I hear them prying nails from the floorboards

with the grappling hooks of their feet, dragging our house
God knows where in the dark.

. . . .

How simple it would be: a stone or a stick,
a trace of arsenic in the trash.
Who would know?

. . . .

Pistols with wings, I am hostage
to what they'd have me say, that the sun is a blister
ready to pop.
That I am holding them hostage; my ransom, they contend,
more words.

. . . .

Is it that my life is magnesium powder drizzled over flame?

Their nest, I believe, is in the neighbors' coal bin.

I angle the blinds so they can't see in.
I take precautions against opening the windows
too far.

. . . .

I've changed the locks.
I breathe now as lightly as possible.