Ekphrastic Poetry: 43

By Nichole Riggs

 43

It was the state
of the dawn
mountains
of garbage
masked in
balaclavas of flame

It was the state
of curtains hanged
in the mayor’s
foyer, lavish red
hemorrhaging
into city streets

It was the state
of exhaust
smothering
the freeway,
beneath its own
dead-weight

It was the gape
between the gun’s
roar, where shells
tinkled like
little bits of
laughter choked

It was the way
they plucked
his eyes, carved
away his ears
as if discarding
pomegranate rinds

the way the crisp
fabric of a uniform
holds in their bodies
just the same
their hardened pits
of hate, the peeling back

of a face, the state
of disremembering
that 43
is a prime number,
not reducible
no matter how much

accelerant it takes.

Dedicated to Julio César Mondragón & the 43 Mexican Students who were captured, tortured, & killed in Iguala, Mexico. 

ekphrasis.counterarchives

Nichole Riggs is a second year candidate for the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame.

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