Shelly Reed The 2River View, 7.3 (Spring 2003)
Five Thorns for an Unnamed Beast


You're the cigarette I lit
in a life when I smoked;
the night I almost put my soul
up for sale, tasseled and oiled.


You're the crop that failed
religiously, year after year,
replanting itself on my land
where something else wanted to grow.


You're the fur I could not wear
when snow rearranged my bones.
I painted a hearth over my wall,
stood shivering in its reds and golds.


You're the illness turned epidemic,
the syringe loaded not with cure,
but a mutating virus injected
in a vein, long collapsed.


I'm the smoke suffocating you,
the searing flame metaphor,
the earth opening my wound
to receive your cremains.

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