Saturday, 1 July 2017

A poem by Ricky Ray


We preach tolerance
but beware
the hardenings of exposure:

enough opium to kill a man
would barely
put me to sleep—

impossible to remove
the scars, restore
the veins,

steel wire
that barbs the history
of my hand:

I killed for money
and mercy,
died more than a little each time

but show me the choking weeds
and I will yank
them from their sockets,

show me
the cat's work
in the half-gutted shrew

and I will bring the shovel
down to crush
the egg of its skull again.

Ricky Ray was born in Florida and educated at Columbia University. His recent work can be found in The American Scholar, Matador Review, Fugue, Concis, One and Chorus: A Literary Mixtape. His awards include the Fortnight Poetry Prize, the Ron McFarland Poetry Prize and Katexic's Cormac McCarthy Prize. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, three cats and a Labradetter; their bed, like any good home of the heart, is frequently overcrowded.

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