Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THEY SAID, by DAVID IGNATOW

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THEY SAID, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: They said your footprints were stamped in blood
Last Line: Say what hurts.
Subject(s): Hospitals; Police; Regret; Violence

They said your footprints were stamped in blood
all the way to Emergency, the blood flowing
down your face and onto your shoes
receiving the steady trickle.
Did you welch on a bet
or take another man's girl?
I do know I'm sick about it,
you resigned, moaning on a stool
in the white, immaculate room,
getting your lips and cheeks stitched.

Cops standing by get no answer
to their questions and would arrest you
to compound the folly. Perhaps
it would be best to lock you up
until you talk. You must be sick yourself
inside, your good looks gone, lips scarred
and swollen for always, for nothing:
money or drink or sex. You've got to wear the wounds
and feel hatred for the very things
that used to give you pleasure.

Say this and the cops will understand.
Say nothing and the sickness grows in everyone.
Say something, accuse no one.
Say what hurts.

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