Stepping Over the Arm

From the flat lung of a gin night,
From the place where night breathes, eyes
Look out: a thin, pressed mouth, an ear,
A small finger's edge can be seen
Or not; they can fool us, deny
What they are by some wild disguise,
It's not a man that lying,
Not a someone like you, not me . . .
From the gin lungs
Of that dark animal who hides--
Or who meant to hide, who had tried
But could not crawl to the alley-
He unholsters the
you fugging
Half-words, shoots us, shoots everything
Up from night, his lungs, gin.

The Lime Orchard Woman (New York: Sheep
        Meadow, 1988).  Originally in
The Journal of Ethnic

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