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Hook

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One year a general
packs the dead arithmetic in a drawer—
all the subtractions, divisions.
The next year, vines cover the bunkers.
The brain resumes its starbursts of rehearsal.
The heart leaps under the defibrillator.
The bone eases into its socket.
Skin grows back. Scars fade. Eyes clear.
Look at the trees at the burn, six years later.
Look at the sprout on a hay bale
on a truck. Look at the woman who was raped,
had her hands cut off in a creek:
She’s getting married.
The choir sings. The bride smiles.
The groom slips a ring on her hook.

Source: Poetry (April 2012)

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

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Hook

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  • Poet, children’s writer, and naturalist Ellery Akers earned a BA at Harvard University and an MA at San Francisco State University. She is the author of two poetry collections: Practicing the Truth (2015), which won the Autumn House Poetry Prize, and Knocking on the Earth (1988), which was chosen for the Wesleyan New Poets series. Her work has been featured in former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s syndicated newspaper column, “American Life in Poetry” and in the anthology Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals (1998). She is the author of a children’s novel Sarah’s Waterfall: A Healing Story about Sexual Abuse (2009).

    Plainspoken, Akers’s unflinching poems investigate grief and joy as they explore the human condition. In her essay “On Writing: Feeding the Lake,” Akers stated, “I believe the process of poetry is mysterious. Jung once said that poets carry the soul of the culture, and I think...

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