Spring 2009 • Vol. XXXI No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2009 |

for the coming pandemic

bootless prayer.  his tongue swoll up, godspeed our sleeper siss goes the air through his slackening cheeks another degenerating, a third ashen, another yielding, of a sudden:     good sir, I let you ravish me with your meaty hands— throw down your crummy bag of tricks, he mumbles in this manner if he mumbles at all: delirium: parlance of stinging nettles and now the speaker [who cannot speak] is a concert of voices squelched, put down in the roads between shanties, put down on paltry stretchers in corrugated tin towns, makeshift clinics lands divided into plats.  the tenants put out beyond the gates and in the midst of crowds, and under every eave and entryway one hears the addled noise from occluded windpipes and the sucking tongues cleaved to the ceilings in parched mouths and the palaces are not saved, either, though they are palaces and even the hospitals in fine neighborhoods are inundated from above: diving beaks and birdclaws, drawn by the

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