Portrait as Unwilling Sacrifice

Push back against the hands
arranging the conditions

for movement (meaning barely any),
the narrow confines of a cell

stripped down to minimum
furnishings: cot with creaky

springs, mattress streaked
with sepia stains, cracked

washbowl in the corner. Kick
and scream when they send

the trumped-up summons,
as outside, someone prepares

the spit and starts the fire.
Recall every subterfuge and tactic

for stalling, every scanned
memory of some kind of hinge

or chink in the armor. Yes
your stamina can go beyond

a thousand and one nights. You
can also drive the tip of any sharp

point at hand into the first
blur that hesitates or wavers.

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