Justin Dodd
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System Without Shadows


Forgive my late regard. The beasts of my dreams have dominion
           over me. A weather of situations requires a new guile. Forgive
           the thunder. I’ll fashion

Thirteen clay boys & label them Remembered, or Had, or Wanted
           pit them against one another to comic effect— I’ll
           play the MacGuffin. Let’s not swim

From the foundered ships. Let’s not pretend that rescue is
           a water, a stroke away. That monstrous October holds,
           hounds, warns even the plants, “Enough.” Bombshell the lights

On—. Give me a throttle, give me another go. Each night, I’m the Christian:
           supplicant to a familiar maw. Each night, I can dream only
           of the room I sleep in. Let’s not listen to the bed gossip—.


Make the Pain Test


Know my dangers. Know what blooms

in me intolerably. How can I endure

a season for you? Through so many

bores—. Through the catastrophic

burgeoning of ginkos.

                                       Sing me a song

of a blind gelding caught

in a burning corral. Of the terrified smells

only night can render.

                                       Send me

letters ending with two Xs over

my eyes. Two lips. To die.

The healing of wounds is a silly

mess. You can find me any night, in any

bar: —my mismatched legs, —my

dutiful torture: I choose a body—;

I make it yours.