Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2011 v10n1
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Ask What I've Been

I think gauze wound
around ankle, plaster poured

into a chest-shaped mold.
I think wet cement. 

I say stone, and you think pebble
in stream or marble fountain or kimberlite.

I say gravel or grave
or ask me later. There are days

I mourn being built from this. Made
of so much aggregate

and gravestone, so little
diamond and fountain water. 

When I was a construction crane
my balled fists

toppled buildings of boys.
I rifled through the pockets

of their ruins.
Ask what I’ve been. Detroit

is a stretch of highway littered
with windshield,

a boy picking the remains
of a window from his hair.

I say Detroit;
you think glass.

I say glass; you think atrium;
I say atrium beams   

warped by heat;
think cathedral. My shoe soles

say stain. Glass between treads,
treads imprinted on gum.

Everything finds its bottom,
say the sewers.

Don’t come any closer,
begs a map of collapsed veins,

while the burnt-out colonial,
this empty lot,

and this alley-dark cavity
all say the shelter is sparse, yes,

but there is space here for bones—
a ribcage, brimming like yours.  end

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