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Until the last rabbit track fails, and they are At the center. They take axes, shovels, mattocks, Dig the snow away, and saw the ice in the form Ofhis coffin, lifting the slab like a door Without hinges. The snow creaks under the sled As they unload him like hay, holding his weight by ropes. Sensing an unwanted freedom, a fish Slides by, under the hole leading up through the snow To nothing, and is gone. The coffin's shadow Is white, and they stand there, gunny-sacked bushes, Summoned from village sleep into someone else's dream Ofdeath, and let him down, still seeing the flakes in the air At the place they are born ofpure shadow Like his dead eyelids, rocking for a moment like a boat On utter foreignness, before he fills and sails down. Gamecock Fear, jealousy and murder are the same When they put on their long reddish feathers, Their shawl neck and moccasin head In a tree bearing levels ofwomen. There is yet no thread Oflight, and his scabbed feet tighten, Holding sleep as though it were lockjaw, His feathers damp, his eyes crazed And cracked like the eyes Ofa chicken head cut offor wrung-necked While he waits for the sun's only cry All night building up in his throat To leap out and turn the day red, To tumble his hens from the pine tree, And then will go down, his hackles Up, looking everywhere for the other Cock who could not be there, Head ruffed and sullenly stepping Gamecock / 223 As upon his best human-curved steel: He is like any fierce Old man in a terminal ward: There is the same look ofwaiting That the sun prepares itselffor; The enraged, survivinganother -day blood, And from him at dawn comes the same Cry that the world cannot stop. In all the great building's blue windows The sun gains strength; on all floors, women Awaken-wives, nurses, sisters and daughtersAnd he lies back, his eyes filmed, unappeased, As all ofthem, clucking, pillow-patting, Come to help his best savagery blaze, doomed, deadgame , demanding, unreasonably Battling to the death for what is his. The NightPool There is this other element that shines At night near human dwellings, glows like wool From the sides ofitself, far down: From the deep end ofheated water I am moving toward her, first swimming, Then touching my light feet to the floor, Rising like steam from the surface To take her in my arms, beneath the one window Still giving offunsleeping light. There is this other element, it being late Enough, and in it I lift her, and can carry Her over any threshold in the world, Into any ofthese houses, apartments, Her shoulders streaming, or above them Into the mythical palaces. Her body lies Buckdancer's Choice / 224 ...


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MARC Record
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