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Summer
2008

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Violent Woman Of The Next Hundred Years
after Muriel Rukeyser
Issa Lewis

When I wake in the morning
it is altogether clear
that today will ache like a tooth  :
yesterday’s cavity unfilled and funneling
every evil thing into itself.

Images whirl with words pounded against them,
stamp of sincerity, eyewitness account
as translated by teleprompters.
I cannot pour these words into the mouths of the dead
            —  would prove a poisonous second-death
                  choking on bones.

A woman asked, “do you know where to find the video?
The one where we can see that Iraqi hanged?”
            —  my mouth became a rifle then
                  and I took her down,
                  skewered her spectator flush,
                  and she crawled away, bleeding.

There is no sense in denying what brings me to this.
The throaty explosions of semiautomatics,
the guttural grenades and their heat pressing
against my face even oceans away  : 
                                                                        I want

silence, closed eyes, a soft and warm body next to mine
in a bed.  Want words to cup meaning in their crevasses
like what’s left clinging after rain.

I want strong peace, and delight, the wild good.

But inside me is the wound
churning out bullets
as it tries to heal.