James Autio
From Rack to Bastion

she was curly
and parts of her
face crinkled
just cute so.
I’d done my time
on the rack,
leather strap
looped tight
over foot and wrist,
been pulled and yanked,
grown narrow through the trunk.
I’d spent years
laid across
an inquisition tableau
by the teen angel panty-bunch,
each screw twist
sending shivers
of stretch along
my unhinged frame.
I found my
tensile self
I became metal.

When curly came
I had already
been shaped
as a curtain rod,
and she sang
to me and hid
alongside my draped hide
and bastions. She
stripped me down.
I knelt before her
and worshipped her
at the piano bench.
Then we got tabouli
and the daily news,
and read together
about war.