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Two Girls

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Eighteen-sixty eighteen sixty-four,   
six hundred ten thousand men   
gaseous gray, blackened body parts   
like chopped wood in Virginia sunshine.   
Or nineteen-fourteen nineteen-eighteen,   
trench rats, thousands, big as badgers,   
rip chines from horse and human flesh.   
IED's, cluster bombs, punji sticks,   
primed to shred feet, thighs, spine, sack,   
yesterday, when we were countless.
Conscience says Count them up and be good,   
suck on me like red candy stick
in casual lookaway moments.   
Protected by neighbors, two girls   
villagers know to be deficient   
doll themselves up as bombs   
for market day's chickens and yams,
and like a world-body neural surge,   
their protectors fly into fatty parts.

Source: Poetry (January 2009)

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

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Two Girls

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