That’s how it was then, a knife
through cartilage, a body broken. Animal
and animal as mineral ash. A window smashed.
The collective howl as a general alarm
followed by quiet.
halogen hum. Tape snaking through
a stealth machine. Later, shattered glass
and a checkpoint charm—the clasp
of a tourist-trap bracelet. An arm. A trinket.
Snap goes the clamshell. The film
in the braincase preserving the sense
of the drench, the angle of the leash,
the connecting collar. A tracking long-shot.
The descent of small-town darkness.
Mary Jo Bang is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Washington University in St. Louis and the author of six books of poems, including Louise in Love; Elegy, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award; and The Bride of E. Her translation of Dante’s Inferno, with illustrations by Henrik Drescher, was published by Graywolf Press in 2012. A new collection, The Last Two Seconds, is forthcoming from Graywolf in March of 2015.