Winter 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1997 |

After the Wall

The old artificers, underminers, and sappers prinked in bearskin jackets and spatter dashes stood still, and tossed their skull caps faced with ciphers, their glazed leather and fall- down linen—for the Wall had broken, and these, the artificial and undermining metaphors dressed for political warplay, were demobbed. The hooked eye bled again, fatigues grew weary, and a pipe was just a pipe. Once the paper troops shook their meanings off, children paste the bodies in books, Picasso's cockeyed horse nosing Peter Rabbit, the Cat wearing Kundera's hat; and all matter turns ductile and porous, except that now the chiselers have grabbed other chunks, and bound the fissures together again, propping the swastika on its skinny foot, sewing an ax for Raskolnikov— By dawn the rough beasts slouch at their posts, lulling the children as moo-cows, Flopsy, or ghosts of the Castle; but artisans force new sutures, so that Godot comes to kill us, and Oedipus blinds his m

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