I saw a redhaired girl walking under sunlit trees

Years later I knew that
if I have a heart at all
it is a black
blade that God

whets on a numb stone
hidden in his murderous chest,
a dry, anticipatory
scritch-scritch-scritch.

He tests
the edge on the fat curve
of his thumb and

meditatively
sucks a drop
of coppery blood.

Two books of James Owens’s poems have been published: An Hour is the Doorway (Black Lawrence Press) and Frost Lights a Thin Flame (Mayapple Press). His poems, reviews, translations, and photographs have appeared widely in literary journals, including recent or upcoming publications in The Cortland Review, Poetry Ireland, The Cresset, and Flycatcher. He lives in central Indiana and northern Ontario.

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