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by philip metres



Don’t mistake his

            leaning back

for swooning—


            he offers himself

the privilege

            of being



             the pleasure

of another


            paying him

with playing—

            still he has


no head and arms

            so she must be

the head & arms—


            she worries the strings

to set his voice

            to tremble—as if


she’s drawn

            to draw

back & forth


            along his body—

as if she were

            the instrument


of the song

            & not him—

O frantic marionette—


alive as long as he’s

            held & pulled—

plucked & stroked—

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