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Tanka as Jacob
Kaethe Schwehn (bio)

I walk between two mules, the backs
of the mules at my waist. One mule
has emerald eyes and the other, amethyst.
I am a big man, guiding the mules with the weight
of my palms the way I guide
my weight into Leah by lifting her
up and toward me.

I am to deliver the mules and I am to return home.
Yesterday, Rachel gave birth to a dead one.
They stopped her body up with moss
and gave his body to me.

I took him away
from her and
into the woods
and with poplar
branches with almond
and sycamore I beat him
until he bled until I
made the way he died.

In a sack around the neck
of the emerald mule is his body.
The mule knows the way to go
by the hanging smell.

When I return home
Rachel’s hands will hang
at her sides. Her sister will come
to me to be of use.

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