Home > Poetry > Chorus of Excisions
Published: Mon Apr 30 2018
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
Online 2018 Dystopia Politics Relationships
Chorus of Excisions

Cut the drill, viscous leak.
Cut salt from earth, lead from water,
_               _drones from firmament.
[Insert this kiss, our natural habitat]
Cut asbestos from imploding
_               _buildings, ban it from the wind.
Delete half-lives / Hazmat suits / atomic tourism.
Erase phosphorous clouds,
_               _cut nerve agents.
Cut duct tape & anaphora of ammo
_               _from gooseflesh.
[Insert your touch, soft impact]
Snip the roses, lacquered in Mavrik™
_               _pesticide blitz.
[Insert rush of pearled seed]
Cut stuff with strychnine & speed.
Cut short the cutting speech.
Undercut bunk facts / crass theatrics.
Excise us, bodies up for gropes,
_               _strapped in the pink,
_               _dodging the grabs.
Strike down that crooked flag,
_               _deep slur on the wind.
Shred caution tape to ribbons.
Cut cluster munitions & billowing
_               _green chlorine gas.
[Insert your Lazarus comeback]
Cut to the chase & chastened,
_               _bloodhound / Technicolor face.
Cut scene to celluloid reams
_               _on the cutting room floor.
[Insert longing, my lifelong occupation]
Censor the shot from Time
_               _of a charred face
_               _in an armored truck.
Split bitter pill, crush to smithereens.
Delete barricades for the fleeing,
_               _cut no holes in their hulls.
[Insert refuge, sanctuary in your scent]
[Insert flesh memory]
Extract bit rot, data decay.
Cut coal debris & PCBs from waterways—
_               _rewind glacial rift.
Shred empire / strike gilded set
_               _with my father’s hammer.

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Willa Carroll is the author of Nerve Chorus (The Word Works, September 2018). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Consequence, Green Mountains Review, LARB Quarterly Journal, Tin House, and elsewhere. A finalist for the Georgia Poetry Prize, she won Narrative’s Third Annual Poetry Contest and Tupelo Quarterly’s TQ7 Poetry Prize. She lives in New York City. (updated 4/2018)

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