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from the November 2019 issue

from “Melismas”

Religious symbolism and threats of violence loom in this impressionistic poem by Marlon Hacla.

This body, stuffed with nightmares
a nesting ground for hawks, swollen
with intractable blues, if only I could solicit
a new shape for you, if only you would scintillate
like a word.


Flanked in the middle of three sharp cops,
a rose of the purest red,
the gleaming points of sharp thorns.


Song that begets all
songs, haunts the ensuing
cult of the carillon. There’s the tolling for
the arrival of the one who would clothe us with opulence.
But, is the time right? What
are the things we need to prepare?


Table carton canned lettuce tool soup with liturgy
there is a knife there is a sign of your slow slide into smallness
small engine small calendar small sound metaphor.


Since it is once more the season of thorns,
the children are yet again wounded.
And, in the absence of inclement weather,
rooms begin to dance, books
fling themselves wildly
across the floor.
Towards the end, lives are improved,
wounds dry up fast
despite the humid heat. The memories
have already settled down as wall pictures.

From Melismas. © 2016 Marlon Hacla. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2019 by Kristine Ong Muslim. All rights reserved.

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