o pioneer! -- Evie Shockley

                            "and the lord said unto satan, behold, he is in
                             thine hand; but save his life." -- job 2:6

he made history sit up stiff like a new recruit waiting wide-eyed

for the next gust from winds of change. did another job

on the devil, in tailored sackcloth, catered ashes. sometimes he hears

the children's voices louden slightly, as if they were coming back.

they are not. he claps his hands when no one's looking, in time

with their dancing footsteps' receding: a memory, a summons

ignored. all up in the sun's face, his melanin bubbles to the surface

like struck oil. he snaps his past around him, a matador's cape, to keep

himself from disappearing, becoming some black hole consumed

with its own success. he is a brewing storm, high but heavy, hanging

like a veil over that yellow daystar until he bursts into spears.

-- for craig griffith, byron taylor, stanley stallworth, 1998
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