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poetry Tracking the Enemy

“Donated clothes” from California, the woman who sewed meets the wearer, “a Bosnian woman/Hiding in London”—the global coincidence that inspires “Tracking the enemy.”

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Tracking the Enemy

By Kim Shuck

Tracking the enemy

Such an exhausting thing the

Woman’s cheek an

Unknown cheek pressed against the

Burning wall of her house or the heaving

Pavement and this violence of

Denied violence the psychopathic edges that

Everyone has in some measure and here it’s

Permitted must keep them startled

Send them on like the Bosnian woman

Hiding in London her child wearing

Donated clothes, handmade for another

Child in California the color and embroidery

Chosen particularly by a woman’s hand an

Unknown hand an

Unknown child another touch

Sent on and probably sent on

Again as the cotton was good and

Sturdy stuff the burn scar on a

Woman’s arm a child’s arm too

Deep to be soup or anything so

Nourishing unknown eyes but meeting over

Evidence of a lesson provided if not

Learned unknown eyes oddly the same

Brown with flecks of green another

Lesson our shared genetic textile puzzle

Might offer some day or even on that one

Day a thing moved on that touch and touch

Tracking the enemy

So tiring this skin handed on

Handed over sturdy stuff a similar palm print a

Comforting collection of words a

Mediation for headache in small

Yellow flowers an unknown hand

Unknown gene an

Unknown symbol of protection in

Silk thread on a child’s jacket

Good sturdy stuff our

Paths have crossed threads have

Crossed and it’s so tiring

Tracking the enemy

Kim Shuck is a poet, activist and curmudgeon. Shuck is solo author of 6 books, the latest Deer Trails, was published by City Lights in San Francisco. Kim is the seventh Poet Laureate of San Francisco and was awarded a National Laureate Fellowship by the Academy of American Poets in April 2019.