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FURTHER READING
Poems by Traci Brimhall
The Last Known Sighting of the Mapinguari
What They Found In the Diving Bell
Poems about Resilience
An Old Cracked Tune
by Stanley Kunitz
Birdcall
by Alicia Suskin Ostriker
Immigrant Blues
by Li-Young Lee
In California During the Gulf War
by Denise Levertov
Reasons To Survive November
by Tony Hoagland
The Bear
by Galway Kinnell
Travelling Against
by Karen Houle
What is Broken is What God Blesses
by Jimmy Santiago Baca
You Can't Survive on Salt Water
by Kalamu ya Salaam
Zulu
by Jen Benka
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Our Bodies Break Light

 
by Traci Brimhall

We crawl through the tall grass and idle light,

our chests against the earth so we can hear the river
underground. Our backs carry rotting wood and books that hold no stories of damnation or miracles.
One day as we listen for water, we find a beekeeper— one eye pearled by a cataract, the other cut out by his own hand
so he might know both types of blindness. When we stand in front of him, he says we are prisms breaking light into color—
our right shoulders red, our left hips a wavering indigo. His apiaries are empty except for dead queens, and he sits
on his quiet boxes humming as he licks honey from the bodies of drones. He tells me he smelled my southern skin for miles,
says the graveyard is full of dead prophets. To you, he presents his arms, tattooed with songs slave catchers whistle
as they unleash the dogs. He lets you see the burns on his chest from the time he set fire to boats and pushed them out to sea.
You ask why no one believes in madness anymore, and he tells you stars need a darkness to see themselves by.
When you ask about resurrection, he says, How can you doubt? and shows you a deer licking salt from a lynched man's palm.









From Our Lady of the Ruins: Poems by Traci Brimhall. Copyright 2012 by Traci Brimhall. Reprinted with permission of W.W. Norton & Co. All rights reserved.
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