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Hook

 I was only a young man
In those days.
On that evening The cold was so God damned Bitter there was nothing.
Nothing.
I was in trouble With a woman, and there was nothing There but me and dead snow.
I stood on the street corner In Minneapolis, lashed This way and that.
Wind rose from some pit, Hunting me.
Another bus to Saint Paul Would arrive in three hours, If I was lucky.
Then the young Sioux Loomed beside me, his scars Were just my age.
Ain't got no bus here A long time, he said.
You got enough money To get home on? What did they do To your hand? I answered.
He raised up his hook into the terrible starlight And slashed the wind.
Oh, that? he said.
I had a bad time with a woman.
Here, You take this.
Did you ever feel a man hold Sixty-five cents In a hook, And place it Gently In your freezing hand? I took it.
It wasn't the money I needed.
But I took it.

by James Wright
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