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To think of a large country
by its intractable people
men mostly dense as cookies
divided by black rivers
white birds on ice
people on the other side floating, careless
The lake was on fire
Burning pyres hydrocephalous
We walked into the wind the wind was bright lime
steppe fires were suspended
Frogs with blinking throats
on top of each other, moving
their arms to show each other, these are my wigs
And rabbits a white grasshopper
water buffaloes where rapias formed.
a brown braid
hanging from a fence flower of lice
someone offered to a cave
two spirits, in the cell
strep red hot, at first
of someone sleeping, dreaming,
is a practical matter
When the enormous white fish
ate the cockroach, the dog
The bodies rose
from the mud swung their hair around
swung their redolent faces
I said no took the fish
that was offered
* * *
Brandon Shimoda’s recent books are Evening Oracle (Letter Machine Editions) and its sequel, The Desert, forthcoming in 2018 from The Song Cave. His work has appeared in Hyperallergic once before — in an essay on the photographic legacy of Japanese American incarceration. He lives in the desert.
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