by Carol Hamilton

Shot right through,
my body, like a cartoon cowboy
with light and the end
of the deserted street
showing through,
or Swiss cheese with
only one Swiss to stick
a finger through, twirl
the cheese and nibble,
a donut, a Life Saver.
I do not even want
to plug this space anymore.
All those years surrounded,
never alone, parents and children
and mate, all those nights
when every story says
my finger is in the dike,
I knew better, felt the seepage,
internal wound, finally fatal.
Only in our silly fury,
short-lived, unnecessary,
did all the workings fall into place,
gears turn smoothly, well-oiled,
for moments, anyway, full
of fullness.  Too long ago
to trust much.  And this duel
at High Noon, my counterpart,
staggering my way, I see
the end of the town showing
right through that body, too.
At last I’ve come to think
this hole-punched place
in me a good thing, fine
for looping a string to jerk
and twitch myself
across the long-aproned stage.
This dance of puppet or paper doll
is fun, much better than searching,
searching the house to find
the plug for the drain,
the stopper for the sink.