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  • Tess Galati

The Risks of Poetry

The Risks of Poetry

Arm in a sling, her broken shoulder mends into prosaic prose.

She bore the voice of millions in her words

Freighted, despondent dead who haunted

Tendons, cartilage ground to pulp.

Yet she persisted.

His fingers bent forever won’t unbend to spreadsheet, yet

They hold the tune of hammer, of guitar

Of whistling wind, hard rain down waterfalls.

Obstinate joints rebel against the grid

That he resisted.

And she who wandered mountains seeking herbs

Fell in a heap of ankle snapped to bone

It’s bone she sought, but not so literally.

Abrupt, enraged, objecting to straight roads:

Stop! She insisted.

Ghosts walked his streets, tearing arpeggios

Into his breast. He loved too well, tied to the mast

Too late. The blues of sirens shattered. He succumbed

To oil lamps, haberdashers, shopkeepers.

Thus he assisted.

Reading these words is risk enough for you

Wandering, as you are, into your doubt,

Ennui sprinkled with lust for secret runes.

Too late to stanch the scraps that break your heart.

Now you’re enlisted.

—Tess Galati

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