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The men wore human skins but removed them at night and fell to the bottom of darkness like crows without wings. War was the perfect disguise. Their mothers would not have known them, and the swarming flies could not find them. When they met a spirit in the forest it thought they were bags of misfortune and walked away without taking their lives. In this way, they tricked the deer that wandered into the forest at night, thinking branches of trees were other deer. If I told you the deer was a hide Of light, You wouldn't believe it, Or that it was a hunting song that walked out of a diviner's bag sewn from human skin. It knew it could pass through the bodies of men and return. It knew the arrow belonged to the bow, and that men only think they are following the deaths of animals or other men when they are walking into the fire. That's why fire is restless and smoke has become the escaped wings of crows, why war is only another skin, and why men are just the pulled back curve of the bow.
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Author:Hogan, Linda
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:May 1, 1993
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