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Elisabeth Murawski


We’re in a rowboat, close to shore.
Our shoulders meet,
my left leans in to your right.

In our hands, a dripping
mass of water lilies
pulled up from the mud.

Our smiles do not seem posed.
Your eyes are wistful
as the water lilies

taken by surprise.
We make a sort of tent
against the wind, the dark

to come. Far from the farm
you left as a bride,
like a soldier in a Goya scene

of civil war, you died
sitting up against a wall,
in no one’s arms.


A sea of men breaks through
the gates. They go door
to door. They do not

or old, plain or pretty:
all pearls falling

on a jade platter.
The same woman may be taken
over and over. Toys

for little men. Toys to be
broken like horses.
Toys to ride until death,

parody monogamy.
These are not objects of desire
fed by lutes,

the phases of the moon.
These are toys with eyes
that will not fly

a white flag. Blood
in the streets,
the silencing of lips

that can tell. Strips
of skirt and bits of hair
trinkets tucked in wallets.

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