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Self-Portrait as Francis Bacon

Ivy Kleinbart

The confused jaw circles back on itself
to repeat all it’s gotten wrong—
blueshadowed and wrung,

a thin screen of blood
brushed over the eyes and mouth—

asymmetry worn into
the face, an error of bone—

To whom should I apologize?
To which earnest body
that didn’t make it out?
didn’t make it in?

When the angels touched me,
my ribs dropped out of my blouse—
I blindfolded my erection and drew a smiley face on it,
then made it scream like an animal in a grassy field.

I wanted to stay that way forever,
but they pinned a carnation to my lapel
and stuck me on an imperial throne
where I felt
oddly interrupted.

They electrocuted me there—

shocked my shut mouth
awake, as in dreams,
where no sound escapes—

Ivy Kleinbart

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