A Burnt Poem

I slay words, dust settles on the knife.
Motes of turbid light at the window
wrap around sentences that snarl, knot
in mess of allusions. Voice falters

when silence tears the throat, shreds
of the poem coagulate the bloodstream
just when I think I have emptied the bin
of life, reed dry and hollow, breast

shrivelled, milk lumpy on the tongue.
I leave my shell on the tree, track myself
down the path to the woods of smoke
where the flesh under my skin roasts.


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