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Hotel Room

Death and the fear of death
Want you

To watch them strip.
You want more than anything

To turn your back,
To pretend you or they

Do not exist,
To avert your gaze

From the animal
Crowned with thorns of consciousness

Whose name they grunt and rasp.
Death pushes fear away

With a playful hand,
Undoes fear’s buttons,

Unveils the animal flesh
Inflamed to attract

The male of the species,
The species of death.

Life crumples
Like stockings in a drawer,

Like silks – how perfectly they fit –
Woven by worms

For the soul that shivers
From the inside out

As death kisses your neck.


by Joy Ladin

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