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2008

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The Aphrodisiac
Arthur Sze

“Power is my aphrodisiac.”
Power enables him to
connect a candle-lit dinner
to the landing on the moon.
He sees a plot in the acid
content of American soil,
malice in the configuration
of palm-leaf shadows.
He is obsessed with
the appearance of democracy
in a terrorized nation.
If the price of oil
is an owl claw, a nuclear
reactor is a rattlesnake
fang. He has no use
for the song of an oriole,
bright yellow wings.
He refuses to consider
a woman in a wheelchair
touching the shadow of
a sparrow, a campesino
dreaming of spring.
He revels in the instant
before a grenade explodes.