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The World's Arm


A strong, pale wind on the thighs,
it was no seaspray, no AC,

but cold mnemonic, a breath
of spotless decision,

a kind of bulk, a true surface
thickened by foreign pears

as if winter brought its fruit
first to me for approval

before it let December
fill its basket to capacity.

I spoke too calmly for one
who didn't believe in anything.

Mouth full of pears,
full of promises I'd no way

to speak, much less keep, I tended
to gesture toward a Universal

Field of Grass, hoping to break
as many blades as my wide self

could in one pass. One passó
but we're wasted with feeling,

breathing funny and stuck rough
like an IV into a paralyzed arm.

And that's the World's Arm
that can't write anymore,

or sign its name, or pick
the thickness from the trees.

My fingerprints transform
into proboscis, by degrees.


Brenda Shaughnessy

Our Andromeda
Copper Canyon Press


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