Summer 1982 • Vol. IV No. 3 Contemporary American Poetry |

One of Solomon’s Concubines, Dying, Exults in Her Virginity

They tell me it's a fever. SoI'm right again. I bum and burnand then go cold. And in-betweenthey balance off and I can thinkas clearly as I ever have.A clearing in the brain is likea clearing in the woods, a placeto stand and watch the circling treesgo up in flames, to study firewhile red and orange swirls close inon me.        I came to Israelat seventeen: an offer madewas ridiculed by his eunuch.So I was added to a dealfor twenty others, rounding outthe bargaining. He always hasa paucity of virgin girls,for whom he has a private need. During a childhood fever Ilost all my hair; it grew back white.One eye turned brown and doesn't workin concert with the violet one. Since then I've had a tendencyto fits, a talent I've advancedtill I can see the future likea master huntsman sees a tigercrouched in a thicket, while the beaters seea wall of leaves. Sharp leaves. He touched my breast and called me "sweet."Then I fell victim to a spelland called out loudly of a

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Andrew Hudgins teaches at Ohio State University. His most recent book is American Rendering: New and Selected Poems. In June, Simon and Schuster will publish The Joker: A Memoir and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish A Clown at Midnight.

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