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American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin


Rilke ends his sonnet, “Archaic Torso of Apollo” saying
“You must change your life.” James Wright ends “Lying
In a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island,
Minnesota” saying “I have wasted my life.” Ruth Stone ends
“A Moment” saying “You do not want to repeat my life.”
A minute seed with a giant soul kicking inside it at the end
And beginning of life. After the opening scene where
A car bomb destroys the black detective’s family, there are
Several scenes of our hero at the edge of life. A shootout
In an African American Folk Museum, a shootout
In the middle of an interstate rest stop parking lot, a shootout
In a barn endangering the farm life. The life
That burns a hole through life, that leaves a scar for life,
That makes you weep for another life. Define life.


Terrance Hayes

American Poetry Review

July/August 2017


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