Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2017  Vol. 16 No. 2
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an online journal of literature and the arts
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back SOLMAZ SHARIF

Mess Hall

Your knives tip down
in the dish rack
of the replica plantation home,
you wash hands

with soaps pressed into seahorses
and scallop shells white
to match your guest towels,
and, like an escargot fork, America,

you have found the dimensions
small enough to break
a man—
a wet rag,

a bullet, a bullet
like a bishop
or an armless knight
of the Ku Klux Klan,

the silhouette
through your nighttime window,
a quartet
plays a song you admire,

outside a ring of concertina wire
circles around a small collapse.
America, ignore the window and look at your lap:
even your dinner napkins are on FIRE.  

From Look © 2016 Solmaz Sharif. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Graywolf Press.