Joanna Lee and Tami Cohen


Tami Cohen
inspiration piece




Joanna Lee

A gasping daylight spends
its penultimate dying ray
on a pair pushed already into shadow
by hanks of rough coiled rope
strung out behind like breathless laundry.
Their knees buckle under weight
sunk shank-deep in an earth
that doesn’t forgive, a quiet
purgatory whose creaks and groans
are stifled in the hard-baked furrows
on the brow of their sun-weary warden.

I always thought
that it was hell where one was taught torment
by slow roasting, but here, yoked
to each other and to unending toil; here,
choked by coarse anguish and
refined oppression; here,
sold for profit and promised
a short life’s leash; here
they escape
only the yellow
of jaundiced decay.

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One Comment

  1. Posted September 4, 2010 at 5:41 am | #

    Particularly good juxtaposition of the color in the image and the weight in the text. And it makes me wonder if it’s really about a pair of oxen or a married couple.