WHEN PAIN COMES, A MAN WILL TAKE IT

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for my friend, Aja Thomas

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In the scar curved palms of my hands I hear your voice
telling me
when pain comes a man will take it.

A man will drink the bitter water
drink the bitter water and swallow it.

A man will let pain have its way
not as a whore does for a paying customer
but as husband to wife, wife to husband.

Who we are has always known how to make a temple out of stones
soma out of blood
a joyful noise from the crying, from the terrible crying
of the heart.

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