Scorned, He Implodes, 1999, From the Series Soul Erased, Joyce Scott

A jutting full of eyes—: an outcropped
eye-cropping—: a seeing flame,
a mad-seeing tentacle, an unsightly
excess of seeing—: an assemblage of
eyeballs: eye-quilt—: two eye masses
opening out like a river’s tributary. See
how he grew a shadow under
their gaze over his bones. See how
he has grown—: unwieldy, a woman’s
hips over a small boy. His face now
a silver mask. ⑰ kneecap ⑳ anklebone
⑯ leg’s long bone. One gun as long
as his leg. What’s the thing at the
gun range you discharge your gun
into? Imagine it sees. (22) the big
toe. ⑤ over the heart. Label the

skeleton for the museum. In the
deep of the bullet receptacle some

one has placed a small black child.
He leans, awash in red, against the
hellgate that looks banally like a white
farm gate. The shadow child is failed

enfleshment, chalkboard black to score-
keep the bones. He undoes the safety and
ushers the oversized gun towards the other
boy’s head; the other, holstered to his hips or
slung through pelvis bones. Patterned
throw—: a collection of dragon’s eyes.
All this takes place at the dragon hour :—
his face, a sterling sparkle, an MRI,
a negative

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon is the author of Open Interval, a 2009 National Book Award finalist, and Black Swan, winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, as well as Poems in Conversation and a Conversation, a chapbook collaboration with Elizabeth Alexander. She is currently at work on The Coal Tar Colors, her third poetry collection, and Purchase, a collection of essays. She teaches at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

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