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Ash Wednesday

Joe Hall

A third virgin carved from horn and
This horn slowly beginning to branch
Upward into the night like sad
Quiet lightning? Mary, morning, noon
And eve you yet conceive
The soil on which an afterbirth is flung
And what is pulled between her legs
Her thighs and his hands and
Your hands and my body
Before the livestock’s impassive eyes
Splinter of terror, splinter of awe—Mary
If I am mud and water, mold me
Into a pot, if I’m a pot, crack me—if I’m a cracked
Pot, beat out a rhythm on me
Bears will dance to it—Mary
Make me useless

Joe Hall

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