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Lorene Delany-Ullman

Three Histories, Measured

Derrick, the hangman of London
builds simply and efficiently:
wooden frame, crossbeam, a knotted rope.
The word gallows is of the throat.

The mouth forms an endless O.
At night, the oil derricks sing
my grandfather to sleep.
Heavy pumps sing the lullaby of migration:
moan & thump, moan & thump, moan & thump.

Near the derricks, deep pools of oil
called sump holes form.
The gathering of this reflection is deceiving.
Some children and horses are never found.