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The Cycle

The water spills and maids have soaking knees.

You tie them up and let them bleed. So slow

do leaves come falling down. Is snow always

so harsh? Be killed or kill… I choose to die.

So hang me up and let me dry. So slow

the world can spin on pointed toes and crossed

fingers until they stop. No spinning, crossing,

pointing. Stopped. The maids are cleaning still,

you killers killing. She and he and I—

we hang, suspended bulbs for all to see.

So lift me up and let me breathe. So slow

do dying breaths go breaking through the fog.

 

Replaced with new and better maids. With new

and better killers, me’s, and you’s to hang.

-Lu Terlikowski

Guts and Glory

I lived in a dizzy world where colors were brighter and everything sang

But me— the sporadic life of stunted daisies and crushed beetles

Whose guts spilled out onto the pavement like a blackened rainbow.

I thought of ripping myself up from the bottom of my roots

But a passing gentleman reminded me I would surely die.

Now there is a woman who kneels and hushes the songs of the world—

I imagine what it might be like to swing on her ribs or dance on her eyelashes.

The gentleman passes again and warns, but I let the woman twist me up—

There is light on me, and color on me, and I miss the ground— but cannot return.

Are you still there? I ask my beetle friend. Are you? Asks the gentleman.

-Lu Terlikowski