Shirts or Skins, a 2014 poetry chapbook by Jim Redmond

At the Learning Annex

I drop out of night school.
I go to the chop shop instead.

I have things
that need cutting:

a new fang, a sore hoof
for the rasp.

I watch a man in a mask
with one huge eye
wield a small flame.

He calls it the burn
victim mask.

He makes an incision.
All day he does this.

He stands and sweats over
many raw metals.

He strokes a silver tongue
against anything
that will give up the solid.

The eye is so big and black
and fills his whole face
with its unblinking appraisal.

I go back to school.
I have trouble with math

and simple word problems
and the part about which side

declared war
on the other and why;

the part about putting things back
together after

you’ve broken them down.

Originally published at PANK


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