The Man, Book Her Prize (Prelude)

The Cuffs Still Hold

The cuffs still hold.
Found a blister on my small
Wrist this morning,

So sentimental and predictable,
But unless you've felt the
Hard metal shackles so tight
Even the chain can't be seen;

Unless you've felt that honestly,
Your delicate wrist bones might
Break if the steel shining holds
Your body inert a minute more.

So no joke. You'd rather your
bones and hands broke, useless,
never mind the pain, because

Oh the shackles fall fast to the ground,
Your shoulders let your arms go slack,
Yes, this metaphor is atrocious, but
It wouldn't be, whether honest or not,
If you've felt the time do you in,
The cuffs a killing, cunning thing.

No. This wouldn't be a sophomore
Metaphor. For only the imprisoned,
literally mostly, know how that heart
Soars and whimpers, when, bones
Broken and shackles fallen--oh
Them feets don't fail me now--prefer
Them broken, useless hands, and them
Broken, useless wrists, prefer what
Once upon a time might have been
An unfathomable, please-kill-me torture,
And feel nothing but the unsteady
forward on weak wobbling calf legs.

the stonewall turns trees
And you ask one more time if you can leave,
So what's a meadow for? The unsteady calf
Released. Free. Only a prisoner knows how the
uncertain heart dives deep and flies high,
when your bird-like bones are broken everyone
and you run, free. Only the jailed really
Know what it's like to be free.


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