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   Don't kill me, father!

   --Euripides, Heracles

   Freshly cut, it is bluish white.
   It tarnishes in the moistness
   of air to grey. The grey allows
   the black to show through. The first dose
   drowns the original anger
   in bright bliss, the next doses take
   the anger, hide it, increase it,
   make it indistinguishable
   from what is now the dark and now
   the brother to need. No way back
   to try to stand and see that change.
   Or imagine I will save you,
   my father, before or after
   you are like a man whose eyes roll
   in his head and who releases
   lead-tipped arrows into his sons.
   Those sons move like slow birds and fall,
   the sky they look out at narrows
   and then there is no sky. No way
   to where I see clear and intact
   all I might remember of you.
   I am neither cursed nor favoured,
   I drink what you drank in my heart
   that drinks blood and time, while it stays
   lodged in me, lustreless metal,
   hate not mine and mine, resisting
   corrosion, conducting nothing,
   and I carry the weight of it.
   I simply carry it, with eyes
   that carry light. I carry it.

Russell Thomton is a West Coast poet whose cob lections include House Built of Rain (Harbour, 2003), shortlisted for the ReLit Poetry Award and the Dorothy Livesay B.C. Book Prize, and The Human Shore (Harbour, 2006). His poems have appeared in several anthologies, including Open Wide A Wilderness: Canadian Nature Poems (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2009), A Verse Map of Vancouver (Anvil Press, 2009) and Rocksalt: An Anthology of Contemporary B.C. Poetry (Mother Tongue Publishing, 2008). He won the League of Canadian Poets National Contest in 2000 and the Fiddlehead's Ralph Gustafson Prize for Poetry in 2009. More information is available at <>. He is currently reading The Man Who Went into the West: The Life of R.S. Thomas by Byron Rogers, The Complete Poetry of Cesar Vallejo, translated by Clayton Eshleman, and, for the umpteenth time, rereading Hamlet.

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Author:Thornton, Russell
Publication:Literary Review of Canada
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jan 1, 2012
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