The Reemergence of the Noose
Poem by Patricia Smith. Photo by Jill Burhans.

Some lamp sputters its dusty light across some
desk. Some hand, in a fever, works the fraying
brown hemp, twisting and knifing, weaving, tugging
tight this bellowing circle. Randy Travis
on the radio, steamy twangs and hiccups,
blue notes backing the ritual of drooping
loop. Sweat drips in an awkward hallelujah.
God glares down, but the artist doesn’t waver—
wrists click rhythm, and rope becomes a path to
what makes saviors. The loop bemoans its need to
squeeze, its craving for a breath within the ring.

- Previously Published in Asheville Poetry Review

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