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Who Has The Whip-Hand Over Aimless Animals by Patricia Lockwood

Who Has The Whip-Hand Over Aimless Animals

by Patricia Lockwood

(published in Zone 3, Vol. 25, No. 2, Fall 2020)

Who has the whip-hand over aimless animals, 

and who drives them, who makes them triggers 

pulled toward each other and head-splitting sound, 

who makes them whole, who gave them single horns 

or a gore above each eye, or only fever on the forehead, 

and who holds sway over shiftless animals, who are 

within hides and without, who are bloodthirsty or wet 

as whistles with warm and red, who speaks for mealmouth 

animals, who drives them inchmeal through the fields

and grinds them to a halt, who drags long rows of carry 

no weight behind them, who tears wide rows of hemmed in 

after their heels, who forces cross-grained animals to walk 

over weighing bridges and into weighing cages hung 

in weighing houses, who muscles unflinching animals

over the face of the earth, who doubles over to wash 

the underbodies, who leaves them every inch 

an aftermath, who worms his way into rooted 

animals: earth, round, angles his way and drags 

inlaid air behind, who ingrains them with rows 

of waving water, who leads them waist-deep 

into wet, into swan-drawn lake to sink 

to stone to made of, mile, grind, and grave.

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