the healing muse

Volume 7, 2007

He Remembers Listening to Canaries

Marilyn R. Mumford

Now at last I know what eunuchs felt—
the loss, the loss—
not ordinary slow repeal of memory,
but swift and brutal slicing off
of all that went before.

Dull knife hacking at body parts,
loud rasp separating song and bone
I see at last
all sexuality parted from what is lost
to time, the surgeon's saw.

Sing, little castrati!
Sing, little canaries
out in front of
or behind your bars!

Rock back and forth
the wooden perches
of your remembering—
Give true vibrato
to your tiny-throated songs!

Return to Table of Contents, Volume 7, 2007.

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