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you ask her to kill her poem
by extracting its "finest" lines
amputation of the soul

yet you do not call this murder
but scholarship instead
ever the refuge of the amputee

if you talk about these things too much
the magic loses itself
and talk is all there is

fact becomes fact with repetition
the encrustations of precedent
repeating the dusty verdicts of predecessors

No, she says

to write is to breathe, suffocating without
she will not make herself over
no personality du jour

unbidden, her words had unlocked the door
she had crossed over, and could not return
she would erase herself no more

no, she will pass instead
unmarked, unwept
always the water changes
but the river stands still

and they will stand, too
solemn soulless sentinels
mockingbirds singing over her grave

A Ghazal of the Body

She never asked him to use the scalpel or the bone saw.
She asked him how the body worked, and why.

Her scars, unerasable, contoured as heiroglyphs,
only interpretable by the lamplight of libraries.

It's true, she buried herself many times, and paid
for each rebirth in charcoal and in blood.

The best part of a poem, she knows, is always the same:
any time the surgeon is made to speak her name.

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