DUMMY by Louis Kasatkin

In the darkened gloom
of a wooden tomb,
you kept me smothered
in a dank, musty cloth,
my burial shroud wrapped around me,
like nightmares wrap themselves
around my dreams
were I be allowed to dream,
to suffocate on my own dust
passing time watching iron nails rust,
distant noises muffled
my own screams caught in a throat
that cannot issue its own currency of speech,
my counterfeit visage
its motionless mouth,
my fugue turns a darker shade of night;
until you release me
on parole again;
and as I sit obediently on your knee,
the applause reaches its crescendo
and you bow your head
as Charles did upon the chopping block
to which my thoughts stray
and before you put me back
into the wooden tomb,
I know now,
what I must do…

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