Concertina

Joseph Bathanti Click to read more...

Joseph Bathanti is the author of six books of poetry, including Anson County, The Feast of All Saints, This Metal and Restoring Sacred Art (winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize). His novel, East Liberty, won the 2001 Carolina Novel Award. His latest novel, Coventry, won the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His book of stories, The High Heart, won the 2006 Spokane Prize. He is the recipient of Literature Fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council in 1994 (poetry) and 2009 (fiction); the Samuel Talmadge Ragan Award, presented annually for outstanding contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina over an extended period; the Linda Flowers Prize and many others. Bathanti is a Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.

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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