Concertina

Joseph Bathanti Click to read more...

Joseph Bathanti is former Poet Laureate of North Carolina (2012-14) and recipient of the 2016 North Carolina Award for Literature. He is the author of seventeen books, including The 13th Sunday after Pentecost, a volume of poems, released by LSU Press in late 2016; and the  novel, The Life of the World to Come, from University of South Carolina Press in 2014. Bathanti is Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University.

Alias razor wire, fashioned after
the free-reed,
bellows-drive instrument, patented

in 1884 by
Sir Charles Wheatstone. Early in its history,
Rimsky-Korsakov’s

Flight of the Bumblebee was arranged for English
concertina.
Used as ramparts in WWI. You’ve seen

archival photographs
of soldiers dangling still, lovelorn, as puppets
in its trusses.

Simple barbed wire garnished with spun helices of high
tensile yield,
various calibers and blade profiles, a colossal Slinky

ribboned with scalpels
that increase vertically and horizontally at once.
An Italian Squeezebox.

Manufacturers’ names like Excalibur, Flight-Guard, Whistler,
Nemesis, The Prodigal, —
so conceived that, once snared, the convict, reflexively

thrashing (panicked
as it flinches into him), ravels himself through
a meat grinder.

In the sun and moonlight, especially seductive.
The intermezzo,
the climactic hemorrhage.

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