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The BannistersPaul Muldoon
Vol. 42 No. 7 · 2 April 2020

The Bannisters

Paul Muldoon

133 words

Our ornamental gates and railings that were melted down
for rifle barrels have gained some sort of posthumous renown
by unambiguously drawing a line in the sand.
The gates and railings are finally taking a firm stand
and even more emphatically bringing things to a close.
The exit wound is their approximation of a rose
or a geranium under gauze on the windowsill.
Gangrene. The green and gold of the first full-blown daffodil.
Also rendered, so it would even more tellingly rend,
was lead stripped from the gutters and flashing. For lead will bend
along a spine as it did along a walnut ridge post.
What was once an outer sanctum is now the innermost.
Shouldered as rifle stocks, after a mere three weeks of drill,
the bannisters are gradually taking another hill.

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