Battle Hymn for the Soul
Bagdad the spirit with fresh oil poured holyBreathe the body's fornicated hymns into psalmsA wretched chorus we can bleach torapid crescendo
Fear not the hollow rhymes of youthBurn cross into crown of embersYet holy feet dance havocto the blues jargon in sheet music
rolling R's on the tonguegargling evil, maybeholding heaven guilty betimes [End Page 118]
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LEN LAWSON is the author of the debut collection Chime, the chapbook Before the Night Wakes You, and co-editor of Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race. He is a PhD student in English literature and criticism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He is a 2016 Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop fellow and received a residency at Vermont Studio Center. His poems have appeared in The Baltimore Review, Verse Daily, Thrush Poetry Journal, [PANK], Winter Tangerine Review, Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. He currently teaches English at the University of South Carolina in Sumter.