Scot Erin Briggs

Not for Identification

His rifle scope bears JN8:12
for the light of the world

She remembers dancing is all about
            (from when she learned to waltz)

hold your frame, push
your pelvis forward
so your hips pretend
to contain what they bear
up and count.

In this room are stripper
and soldier. They are
clutch and incisor.

There is the soft girl who cradles
her breasts in her arms,
the same impossible smooth
color of her face saying
now and at the hour of our death.

There is J, morose,
who will be deployed
the day after Valentine’s Day
from Gatesville to whichever
front they decide is still in front.

Because the road to hell is paved with
            good intentions and the bones of
                        second lieutenants.

Because when she filled out the application
they wanted, not a stage name,
but a legal one and
her social security number.

The same on the dog tags
which are for when you must
leave a man behind—
            you take the one and you place
            the other between
            the teeth, hit him
            on the jaw to lock it in
            so he will not be lost
            or if he is, the long chain counts 365, the small 52.

Because there is real work to be done
and if you are no architect, you may still be useful
with your back or your hands or your breasts or your clay.

And there is the just getting through
the moment, even if
it kills you
           even if you must sell
                      even if it means naked or
                      or you have to let

                                 them / it     touch / cut     you.

Go on—time heals
    by way of abrasion.

To dance, push your partner away.
To fire, pull the rifle in tight.


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