blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2009  Vol. 9. No. 2






The Killed Man
Cougnac, c. 15,000 BP

The stick man bristles with five sticks
& his insides pour out, a mesh of ochre,

Rendered childlike. The invention of torture
Is so fresh they are confounded.
                                                     How to depict

The human figure mangled, the whole reduced
To the gutted sum of its parts, a brilliant ooze

Of sinew? Some long-forgotten deity is appeased
Or praised.
                  It eats & eats of our flesh.

They keep you chained & hooded on the flight
From Kabul to Gitmo. They serve a meal

Of rubber hoses, then another. The shackles
Pry at your wrists & ankles. Then it’s straight

From tarmac to solitary. They tug off the cowl. The light
Strikes you down.
                              On fettered hands & knees, crawl.

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