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Patricia Lockwood

Who Has the Whip-Hand over Aimless Animals

Who has the whip-hand over aimless animals,
and who drives them, who makes them triggers
pulled toward each other and head-splitting sound,

who makes them whole, who gave them single horns
or a gore above each eye, or only fever on the forehead,
and who holds sway over shiftless animals, who are

within hides and without, who are bloodthirsty or wet
as whistles with warm and red, who speaks for mealmouth
animals, who drives them inchmeal through the fields

and grinds them to a halt, who drags long rows of carry
no weight behind them, who tears wide rows of hemmed in
after their heels, who forces cross-grained animals to walk
over weighing bridges and into weighing cages hung

in weighing houses, who muscles unflinching animals
over the face of the earth, who doubles over to wash
the underbodies, who leaves them every inch

an aftermath, who worms his way into rooted
animals: earth, round, angles his way and drags
inlaid air behind, who ingrains them with rows

of waving water, who leads them waist-deep
into wet, into swan-drawn lake to sink
to stone to made of, mile, grind, and grave.


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