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Cleansings

by Elizabeth Burk

spacer Strange clinic
in these icy Maine woods
where I awake in the morning
to a spot of red blood
on your pillow beside me.

You are already risen,
outdoors, work boots, muffler,
a wool cap covering the ear injured
in your beloved New Orleans,
that night we stopped at the Touche
Bar on our way to Lafayette,

drank and partied till dawn
at Peter's place
in the French quarter
where you tripped on the old
wooden staircase and shattered
an antique glass door.

One year later, slivers of glass,
like diamond studs,
remain embedded.
We remove them nightly
with tweezers and alcohol-
drenched cotton swabs

still extracting
pieces of that night
as they rise through your flesh
to the surface,
your body cleansing itself
of revelry turned toxic

reminding us of the town
we both grieve for,
flooded beyond despair,
its glittering wreckage
washed away, ancient miseries
rising to the top.

First Published in LOUISIANA REVIEW
Spring 2007, Volume 5, Page 48-49
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