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Man in a Ruff

by Dana Levin

in the court of Elizabeth I

A lapis stud.
             Pierced through the lobe of one shapely ear, the other cupped
by an oiled
Eyes filmy as dew on glass, brimming edge
             of a glaucous sea—

             Man in a ruff.

In promenade
             with other plattered heads, jeweled and coiffed—

             How they want to loosen
the flesh

             in this moment
of inventing so much: new stars and countries, the toothed


offering his perfumed
to the glint in her gun-colored eye—

             What will she deem him.
             whitened with lead—

             He is Wounded Dog.

             Cannot Lick His Thigh.


Dana Levin’s first book is In the Surgical Thea June 10, 2008 Copper Canyon Press in Spring '05. She is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently a fellowship from the Rona Jaffe Foundation.

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