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Chorus of Excisions

by Willa Carroll

Cut the drill, viscous leak.
Cut salt from earth, lead from water,
               drones from firmament.
[Insert this kiss, our natural habitat]
Cut asbestos from imploding
               buildings, ban it from the wind.
Delete half-lives / Hazmat suits / atomic tourism.
Erase phosphorous clouds,
               cut nerve agents.
Cut duct tape & anaphora of ammo
               from gooseflesh.
[Insert your touch, soft impact]
Snip the roses, lacquered in Mavrikô
               pesticide blitz.
[Insert rush of pearled seed]
Cut stuff with strychnine & speed.
Cut short the cutting speech.
Undercut bunk facts / crass theatrics.
Excise us, bodies up for gropes,
               strapped in the pink,
               dodging the grabs.
Strike down that crooked flag,
               deep slur on the wind.
Shred caution tape to ribbons.
Cut cluster munitions & billowing
               green chlorine gas.
[Insert your Lazarus comeback]
Cut to the chase & chastened,
               bloodhound / Technicolor face.
Cut scene to celluloid reams
               on the cutting room floor.
[Insert longing, my lifelong occupation]
Censor the shot from Time
               of a charred face
               in an armored truck.
Split bitter pill, crush to smithereens.
Delete barricades for the fleeing,
               cut no holes in their hulls.
[Insert refuge, sanctuary in your scent]
[Insert flesh memory]
Extract bit rot, data decay.
Cut coal debris & PCBs from waterways—
               rewind glacial rift.
Shred empire / strike gilded set
               with my father’s hammer.


Willa Carroll is the author of Nerve Chorus (The Word Works, September 2018). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Consequence, Green Mountains Review, LARB Quarterly Journal, Tin House, and elsewhere. A finalist for the Georgia Poetry Prize, she won Narrative’s Third Annual Poetry Contest and Tupelo Quarterly’s TQ7 Poetry Prize. She lives in New York City. (4/2018)

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