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

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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