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Published: Tue Jul 1 2003
Art by Jin Suk
Cow Ruminating—Ditto Donkey

Do not glow thinks the boy
whose mice will later nibble
through his ankle. He will hold
up his foot and laugh.
He will hide in the upside
down lampshade without feeling
pain for several hours.
What am I doing with a mallet
and a bag of crawfish?
he wonders watching the sun
behind the toothpick he holds
up to the window. At Christmas
they paint black triangles
on empty silos and bring water
to the old sundial.
They speak in solemn tones
but one could hardly call it singing.
Alone at the tree stand
he thumbs his pockets
with the dream where he loses his shoe
and when he finds it
it’s an octopus’s limp tentacle.
The seamstress makes it a diadem.
All afternoon the doll’s eyes like records
spin waxy black shine. He wants
to go up but the elevator has no shaft.
He wants to turn the music off
but the dial crumbles in his hand.
The rain comes down heavy
but he hardly hears a thing.

Nathan Hoks’s first book of poems, Reveilles (2010), won Salt Publishing’s Crashaw Prize. He is also the author of a chapbook, Birds Mistaken For Wind, and the translator of Vicenete Huidobro’s Arctic Poems. With Nicole Flores, he co-edits Convulsive Editions, a micro-press that publishes chapbooks and broadsides. He lives in Chicago. (updated 8/2012)

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