Tuesday Poem


With regard to these acts: removal of clothing,
nudity in front of females and before prayer,
the belly a heap of wheat set about with lilies,

a brood of men with bushy locks, black as raven,
the shaving of beards O daughters of Jerusalem,
exposure to extreme temperatures, hot or cold, short

shackling to an eye-bolt on the floor,
spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
three hundred and fifty incidents of self-harm,

a garden enclosed, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed,
hoods, goggles, lap dances during interrogation,
fear of dogs, the use of dogs; the acts in question

were perpetrated by known government officials,
their teeth a flock of sheep, evenly shorn.

by A. B. Jackson

publisher: The Times Literary Supplement, 2006