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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.
Man in a Ruff

in the court of Elizabeth I

A lapis stud.
_            _ Pierced through the lobe of one shapely ear, the other cupped
by an oiled
_            _ curl.
Eyes filmy as dew on glass, brimming edge
_            _ of a glaucous sea—

_            _ Man in a ruff.

In promenade
_            _ with other plattered heads, jeweled and coiffed—

_            _ How they want to loosen
the flesh
_            _ tether

_            _ in this moment
of inventing so much: new stars and countries, the toothed
_            _ wheel—

_            _ Man

offering his perfumed
_            _ capital
to the glint in her gun-colored eye—

_            _ What will she deem him.
_            _ whitened with lead—

_            _ He is Wounded Dog.

_            _ Cannot Lick His Thigh.

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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