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The Vocation

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Lit with strange carpentry magic — 
they build time-shares in her head. They carve
names deep in wood, erect beams of metal to hold up
the invincible defense of a bad history. They mourn
what’s subjective. They are shutters closed.
Sometimes I imagine such men in flip-flops
with fat towels draped over confident shoulders.
I imagine they all live in Texas, and find
South Padre too hot, and then I imagine them blaming
diversity for everything. Here, in the middle of grief,
we pout to the rhythm of their sentences.
Suns hiss in their dreams. Soon such critics will meet
daily for prayers. The Pharisees identify the guilty woman.
They are gathering sticks for a witch burning. Curandera
lit with the fire of sighs, casts spells, burns sage,
sweats in a lodge, her own prayers flaming.

Source: Poetry (January 2017)

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Poetry magazine

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The Vocation

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