This is my body, me, splayed
on the road’s crown like a shot bird.

Back street. No cars. Men step
over me, dogs and crows investigate.

My eyes gape. Circuitry of soul
is broken. I am in an odd shape

– twisted star – a pose I could never
strike in life. Gymnastic, almost.

This double-jointedness in death
soon tightens as the muscles lock.

My face cracks in the sun.
My hands point up and down the street,

as if to say “I came from here,
and there was where I headed…”

Pregnant with its own ferment,
my gut swells a blue uniform.

I do not recall the battle, army,
cause. I cannot see a bullet-hole.

There is a voice nearby – not loud.
The sky – not bright – is green with storms.

from Raising Sparks (Jonathan Cape, 1999), copyright © Michael Symmons Roberts 1999, used by permission of the author and The Random House Group Ltd.

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