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by jared hayley




I shiver, I ache, I hear

the chain ringing, whipped through the pipe-

rail gate, and change as each pulling in

and being pulled in wearies, slows, and hangs.

Close all: close road, cloud, class, shop.

The last day laying down

the last light sleep, the work

is January. The lesson is January.

Sap drew back first from leaves,

then stems sucked themselves dry.

The future fruit absorbed by the selfish root,

the season’s blood pressing on the tourniquet.

Soon, to you, I will be a he.

He, always an inch from speech.

He, never wanted in your whispers.

He snaps the dry, leaf-covered bone.

The ice world, bring forth; strip

the papery bark from the trunks.

The pump complains but comes free.

For what he brings there is no mending.

He brings to the pail a liquid

sentence whose last word

is always choked. He leans to hear.

The word is garbled. Is it leave or cleave?

Jared K Hayley has published poems in various journals. They raise children, build guitars, and do odd jobs on Long Island.

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