: Black Salve :

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by Alice Fulton

The parts are more articulate than the whole,
chattier, if abject, their usefulness stupified.
They call it learning the iron, this stripping
the sheath to what’s beneath,
the wheels and screws in a gelded heap.
Vile hierarchies==humans above humans above
animals==are vivisected at three a.m.
when the head becomes a pressure hull.
Exdreams fester in that nave of night
they call the dead.While the minute-
hand limps forward, bowing to each moment,
its rhythm stately as a wedding party’s
leaden step. Learning the iron! All duration ends
in a devouring. Eternity, the word, is like a lace
handkerchief waving down a train.
I keep taking things apart
to find what makes them froth,
and sleep with my watch on,
a tiny hand stirring a tiny boiling pot.