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Published: Thu Jul 1 2004
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.

_            _ Strap the spiked belt round your trembling thigh,
you’re in the grip of flesh—

_            _ Each spike digs for its nip.

_            _ Each spike christens its
silver throne—

_            _ in a din of pain against the cock’s
call, the body’s
_            _ barnyard

_            _ of want—

_                                         _—

_            _ But to be released by the iron thorn.

_            _ To feel His lamp, His
lion’s clamp—

_            _ so that His black breath comes and
clouds the eye, and you are lifted
_            _ upon His Word—

_            _ Bad dog, the body is.

_            _ You must make it eat the light.

Dana Levin is the author of three books with Copper Canyon Press: In the Surgical Theatre, Wedding Day, and Sky Burial, which was noted for 2011 year-end honors by The New Yorker, The San Francisco Chronicle, Library Journal, and Coldfront. A recipient of fellowships from the Rona Jaffe, Whiting, and Guggenheim Foundations, Levin chairs the Creative Writing and Literature Department at Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Her poetry and essays have appeared in many anthologies and magazines, including The American Poetry Review, AGNI, Poetry, and The Paris Review. She is a contributing editor of AGNI. (updated 4/2013)

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