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Notes on Polyphony

Yona Harvey

At first I felt my head was too much with me. Take it off, I heard a voice say. Your head, you got to take it off. So I closed my eyes & took my head by the ears & turned. It came off easy. My head. Like all my life it was waiting for me to unscrew it. So I sat it down quietly beside me. & this allowed my mouth—which all before had been sewed shut—to open & sing. What have I to dread? What have I to fear? & my hips, torso, & upright arms trembled at that sudden acapella. I want to thank you for hearing this small trickle in a sea. I am trying to steady myself as I wait. There’s a bored shark coloring the water. There’s a girl cradling her head somewhere. She is lost without her head, & someone has left her all alone at the shore without a song, without a whistle. There is only her blood & the blood of her siblings. There is only the sun like the glimmer of the State’s buttons erasing the girl. You have placed her in my throat. & now I can reattach my head. & the girl is inside me now, she can move now as my body moves, my neck, my head nodding.

Yona Harvey

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