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

We wiped it down, measured it,
and bought stocks for it.

In private we cried for all the pain
it took to get it, hold it, worry for it.
We took it home, introduced it to milk,
air, and television.

Someday we’ll tell the story
of how it was born during several wars
that we were able to ignore.
We’ll take it to Sachsenhausen
and show it all the shoes and the things
humans are capable of doing.

One night, while we had heat
and food and freedom,
I looked behind me, bent down,
and whispered to it:
I need to die before you do.

Beth Woodcome Platow has published poems in various literary magazines including Ploughshares, AGNI online, Memorious, and Gulf Coast. She received the Grolier Prize and the PEN/New England Discovery award. She holds an MFA from Bennington College, teaches at Berklee College of Music, and lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts. (updated 9/2013)

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