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Red Paint

robert krut / poem

Photosynthetic Self-Surgery

Waking is the anesthetic. Reach 

in, remove one lung and the still-

beating heart. I’ll come back to you 

later. Outside, three crows 

pretend to sing, seated on a branch 

that points both skyward and down.

Take tweezers, tug the splinter 

in the bulb of an index finger.  

Pull out a web of nerves, thin

electricity to set in a glass jar,  

jittery cylindered filaments. Take 

your time, slow your time.  

These organs crawl to each 

other like a plant to light

while you walk out of the house,

look for a replacement, the wings

of a pantomimed bird lifted by 

a pulse, up and gone in between 

the beats of a flickering street lamp.


Robert Krut is the author of four books: Watch Me Trick Ghosts (Codhill/SUNY Press, 2021); The Now Dark Sky, Setting Us All on Fire (Codhill/SUNY Press, 2019), winner of the Codhill Poetry Award; This is the Ocean (Bona Fide Books, 2013); and The Spider Sermons (BlazeVox, 2009). He teaches at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the Writing Program and College of Creative Studies, and lives in Los Angeles. More information can be found at


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