By Edward Butscher

It is a quiet, noisy, injured thing

chained inside a forehead’s high white cave,

streaming the stage performances of people

who can never be embraced or trusted.


It is murder by degree and decree

a Dutch or Russian uncle, predator sly,

Stalin’s problem-solving gulags, slaughters,

as if death alone could annihilate death.


It is a furtive, infantile rage clenched

in a father’s quick fist like graveyard dirt

or a roll of coins, his uncaged wife listening

to a dead radio for plots against their son.



Edward Butscher is the author of first biographies of Sylvia Plath and Conrad Aiken, as well as shorter books on Adelaide Crapsey and Peter Wild, much criticism, and several books of poems, most recently, Eros Descending.

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