Unbehold

Bruce Beasley
Lord Nelson's hand, blasted
off by musket-fire at Tenerife,
stayed clutched into a fist

in the gap below his stump,
the unbeholdable
fingers stabbing

their ever-longer nails
into his palm. Daily
in the amputated place

the gone
fingers cut deeper
into the gone & welted

skin. If a hand
can outlast
its shearing-off & still

inflict its scratch & cramp,
he thought, how much
more must the soul

go on when the whole
body's a phantom
body, rid

of all but
its spirit's
fist-kinks & stabs?

Copyright © 2005 by Bruce Beasley. From Lord Brain. Reprinted with permission of the University of Georgia Press.

Copyright © 2005 by Bruce Beasley. From Lord Brain. Reprinted with permission of the University of Georgia Press.

Bruce Beasley