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Fall 2005

Necropolis War Mask: A Bearer of Two Faces
Elena Karina Byrne

I want a touch of bitterness in everything — always                   
a jeer in the midst of our triumphs, desolation even in
the midst of enthusiasm.
— Gustave Flaubert

Let me multiply by you.
I have your hieroglyph number here
deep in my mouth.
Penetrate my psyche until you can't see
straight. This is, after all,
the blood-century again. I can strike anywhere.
My own head is ready to fall
into a basket of horse straw.
The sky is still outside. Cracking
under my own pressure, I am all fervor and painstaking,
toughing-out winter, fit for
consumption, red berry skin
and thorn, rejecting battle scars because no war
made us who we are not. Melee
to my future, you
are penning an impersonator with no mercy
but I know all your bad habits
and I've read my rights, so please
try to convince me I am not you.
I will surrender nothing, but
I will scrub this face painting-pale so you can see
me better.  Save face for us both.
Then lie for me. I'll make your distance
my proximity beyond the pale , the better
boundary. The world will scare
a fascist elegy out
of you when some questions are better
not asked. There are whole days
I brain and brawl and borrow back
an abundance of words troubling for water.
There are whole days I am thirsty at night.
You see: the time lapses here in our own arms. 
Now break your silence;
tell me a story I can't stand.