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198 bruce smith Devotion: Wuthering Heights The obliteration of snows, all the letters deposed, then effaced, from the ( ) scape, no pleasures or all the below-zero refusals, now the crows like justices XO’d. So thoroughly in the body (in the wind) there was hardly any room for a splinter of nonbody to be slipped (a long syllable like an acupuncture needle) in—like driving a shaft of straw through a telephone pole, as I heard hurricanes can do by the heel of a god hand or by voodoo (or a voice) push— (I said I saw her in concert but I only slightly heard)— and then I felt as the body stumbles, swerves to avoid itself in time, that the voice is a woman’s and the hand is my brother’s as he unloads cargo from the docks where bodies are stacked, locked up, iced down, gassed (no tarantulas, ripens the fruit), pumped, spread, as the salts from Korea deliquesce. He was blue from the stowing, rich from the overtime and ripe for the nonbody to pierce his palms as he unloaded the sides of beef from Argentina, some peaches on pallets with winches. The gift of the stevedore is the gift of the dreamer: to oversee our need (and so what if we lose a little something in the handling: some dust, a Volkswagen?). To be so thoroughly in the body was to hide the desolation in the devotion like Heathcliff to Catherine (whose heart beats visibly and audibly), and Catherine to Heathcliff with his brutal, Marxist/Capitalist whip hand, until that voice (I heard her slightly, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t split) was familiar. Of course they were brother and sister—Heathcliff, the dirty urchin, brought home with the whip and the busted violin to punish and fret the body of the other—so all the vows of XY to XX and vice versa doomed, a fatal hetero sickness, taboo, yearning, please, blow jobs begged for, sonnets, love knot tied up in love knot, we’ll never get it right: hence the voices in the night trying again and again, darling, I wanna know what love is . . . 199 I invited the splinter (the spider) in, the way a splitting wedge (one short stroke) laid across the rings of pith invites the V in the name of a willingness to kill (a voice is laid across a body while the signatures of time pass through: the slaughter is somebody’s flower). While over the radio the songs you can’t turn off, over 141 covers and versions from schmaltz to African drums, power ballads, jerk songs, karaoke to yodels to hums. My brother, my blue obliterated dreamer, the stuff is stuffed (the stevedores have broken for lunch), the body is split and stacked, corded and lugged, and there’s something lost, of course, maybe a language (so we grunt and puff), but what’s that voice? A child singing? A crow? Lovers calling to each other across the snows? ...


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pp. 198-199
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