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Jack the Ripper

he saves the
blood, in
little vials
he lines shelves
and window ledges
with like jars
of quince or
plum jelly. What
was squeezed
out of what
once grew,
now's stored
for him. Those
women in shadow
like brambles
of raspberry
or black tops
with sharp thorns
it was work to
get to, sweating,
his arms scratched
and bruised the
red on his clothes.
Some days he wonders
if it's worth it.
But if they're
out there he's
driven to pick
them, have their
juice their skin
in his hands, that
tart smell on
his fingers so
intoxicating he
sleeps with unwashed
hands close to his
nose, dreams of
what tantalizes, is
ripe so plump
one touch of a
knife or his teeth
and they'll explode
in his mouth

- Lyn Lifshin

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