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Take This Poem
Take This Poem 

Take this spoon
from me, this 
cudgel, this axe.
Take this bowl
this kettle, this 
continental plate.
Take, if you will,
this shallow topsoil
above my bedrock.
This swingset 
above the topsoil
this raven 
from my hair.

Take your fear 
from its closet.
Take this shirt
in need of washing
this unread book.
Take this child
this husband, this 
teacup, this 
provisional weather. 
Take this pill 
with a tall glass 
of water, take this
bus deep into 
the interior.

Take my wife
even if I meant
to keep her. 
Take my share.
I don’t need it.
Take as long 
as you need to.
Take this line
between breathing
and voting.
Take this city.
Take this expensive
ship across that
cellophane model
of the sea.

Take the F train
but not to Brooklyn. 

Take the case
of the missing cufflinks.
Take this beverage
with its silver
Pullman ice.

Take me with you
as far as you can go.
I won’t cause 
any trouble.

Take this office
the people. Take this 
patience and burn it 
to the ground.
Take down your 
vanities, your tenements
your champagne 

Take down your hair
your curtains, your 
razorwire fence.
Take off your greasepaint 
your jewelry, your wig
your inadequate armor.

Take off your coat. 
Stay a little longer. 
Take the low road
out into the sunset.

Take it out back.
And take it
to the people.
Take Florida.
Take Ohio.
Take Wisconsin.
Take Missouri.

Take this chamber
like a bullet. 
Take this house
and paint it black
or take it down. 

Poet Elizabeth Willis’s books include Turneresque (Burning Deck) and The Human Abstract (Penguin).