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Harold Standish

The Bleak Hand

My father’s bleak hand was ravenous for the glory of blood.
He placed it under his sheets to warm it for action—
What did he do with it once it had reached its
operating temperature?

Well, you know, he placed it in his vest
An arch Napoleon—except more mediocre—
Seeking out his sons, the blind little piglets
Spawned by December’s grease and broken fenceposts

Beat down on the magic, the magic of youth—
One bleak hand with a quota to fill.
The bleakest hand you ever knew,
Marching its shadow across the tobacco fields.

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Claims Upon the Innocent

It seems we are forever falling,
Falling into empty channels
Where the darkness thickens and consumes us.

Who are we to know our fate?
Was it emptiness that birthed us—
Made us howl with fear at the life thus given?

Were we plants or animals, sealife or landlife?
Oh, how it fits us to mourn our omnivorous blood.
But the sea, like the mountain, is forever silent.

I was wishing for a new set of answers,
Consummate ones that could crack fate
And spread it on the nightmare of innocence.

For it is innocence that traps us,
Keeps us swimming in the well,
That tiny, dark sea within the earth’s core.

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