Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2017  Vol. 16 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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The Polygrapher

Captain of an army of questions,
confederate of sweat, he will vanquish

all before him. Or timid, burrower
in a nest of tubes, he is mouselike,

deferential as the air within
the pneumograph. A liar,

I have seen him draw a spark
from skin, set a gland

afire. In his hand is clutched
a shock of nerves, small grains

he will gather to his table.
When his invitation comes, I dress

in scrolling paper, black needles
in my pockets, a tack turned upward

in my shoe. I test it with the tender
flesh of my foot, hear my pulse

protest. His study, arousal, is ancient,
secret as the promises of maidens.

Devotee of their language of shudders,
he will know them each in turn.  

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