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Our dead call out our dead / you show your filthy face

You useless tit / you runt / you piece of shit / a shame

Unleashed by plain-talk / begging before a threshing

From the old butcher / your leather strap / unbelted

Crescent buckle for a skinning / hiding / each of us /

Slickened with blood / held down in your hinterland

Each barren mile unabating / say mercy.

What dwells in the dog's sleep / unbounded / darkness

The closer you are to the sun the more difficult you are

To see / penumbral / who runs from whom / until kept

Down / cowering / I do not move / you will not move.

You are no less dangerous than you were as you drag

Your bones / field stones / we never once wept upon

The firmament / eight children left with the lone wife

Who would not carry the quiet / the final cardiac pall

Paled thirty years / crescent moons / scars strapped

Below the heart.

A finisher with a surly disposition / better run boy

Run / before the shadow on an August day / flight

Of the dove interrupted / who should feel shame /

Worthless idlers / caught neurotic / we are taught

You will not be tamed.

Dirige / domine / deus meus / ignominious father / aberration

Uttered solemn / all you missed is nothing / noli me tangere /

Don't touch me.

Each child dragged by its hair across the linoleum /

Given lip / good for nothing / illicit / dusk / dusk-lit

Let these bygones / cease holding on me.

We brace in the centre / attention / nothing more than this

Far-fetched ruckus / rot-gut fuss / a latched door farmhouse

Taunting / the slap-board remains / rants / lashed feverish

Your day's demands / fraught / cling to the bleak / this filth

In plain sight / I am a man possessed.

Beyond two graves / yours and the child's / a sole

Pine fallen from a lack of forest / the sun-downed

Dove-wing unfolds / under night / your closeness

Lies too close.

Birch box and iron nails / buried under the cover of lichen

Scrolled years / each letter etched by lime / faded shame

Be a lesser phantom / of the bleak / you will receive no less

No blossom braided in the child's hair.

Rosemarie / rose of thorn / rose up from prairie

Wherever you have gone you will not take her /

Unfollowed to a harrow / kin / stone / infanta

Sub rosa / only her eyes cry.

Our dire wolf / bewildered / breath taken in plain sight /

Before the sun is farthest south / ruck-sacked / a shadow

Across the face / red zenith / dog-light / Dead Dog Creek

In the faithful hour / his small body filled with buckshot

Carry him / carry him.

Undreamt / the sleeper remains untouched.

Farther / Father

Sandra Ridley

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