Crow Hollow Books

The artist's space.

Murder Four, Spring 2017

Crow Hollow 19

Eve Linn

About the poem: The poem, "The Apprentice" is a response to an historical document, a diary kept by a German executioner in the 16th century. After writing it, and thinking about the current political climate, I began to see unsettling parallels. How do humans learn how to kill and remain sane in the aftermath of their actions? How are "undesirable" members of a population treated? Who is punished and who is not? These are some of the questions I was thinking about as I wrote this poem.

The Apprentice

Green hided pumpkins, seeds spill
from cratered guts, warty gourds, veined
stalks of bitter rhubarb litter the ground.

Farm animals, and stray dogs follow,

brought by the knacker for a small tip.
Dumb, rough necks severed as practice.

Frantz's first. Branded and bound.
Kicked to his knees. Then the blade
swings down, a bright steel arc.

With his father's sword, blade cut tendon,
muscle, gristled cartilage, thin fascia threads.
Stump pulses.

Death by his trained hand, a balm.
No plague hallucinations, or long hungers
or the threat of the red painted hen.