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Paul Zimmer

(1934 / Canton, Ohio / Unites States)

Zimmer Guilty Of The Burnt Girl


Once a week
The burnt girl came peddling to our house,
Touching her sweet rolls with raisin fingers,
Her raw face struggling like a bubble
Through lava to say what she had
To sell and why, 'Please buy my sweets
To mend my face.'

Always I hid behind the piano and heard
My unflinching mother quietly buy a few,
And imagined apricots shriveling in sun,
Spiders writhing and dripping over matches.
Always, when the burnt girl had gone,
I heard my mother drop her purchase
In the rubbish to be burned and
I came out to see the pink graftings,
The horrid, sugared layers of the rolls.

I do not want
The burnt girl to come again.
I am guilty for her and of her.
Always in fever I think of that face.

Sometimes in love I believe that I am
Fire consuming myself, and the burnt girl
Suffers from my love as she sells
Her rolls to mend her face.

Submitted: Saturday, July 19, 2014
Edited: Saturday, July 19, 2014

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