“In 1910 Dr. Napoleone Burdizzo, an Italian veterinary surgeon, invented the instrument

which carries his name... It is used to crush the spermatic cord within the scrotum,

resulting in testicular atrophy within about 40 days.”


— Robert Zufall, “Use of Burdizzo Clamp to Crush Vas”, The

Journal of Urology, vol 80, No 3, September 1958

i didn’t want him                       killed

only crushed                         just enough

that he would learn                 to exhale

the same stale breath             of despair

he had filled me with over time


i used to                             picture the scene

hark at the creak of the              shed

door, shiver at                    the quiver of

the straw                                   shred

caught on                      his roped shoulder


the spill of                          light pricking

eyes after                        all that darkness a

soft                                         whimper

warming the chill night              air

his shrivelling truths              laid bare


the truth is i just needed         someone

to crush his tiny              mind but mine was

too inconvenient                  a truth at the

time                                        too easily

brushed                                      aside


unlike this                     rancid exhalation in my

ear for all these years         “no-one

will believe you”                   his

inconvenient truth                 always

trumping                                 mine


last night i heard                  undeniable

creaks in the                              dark

shuffles of small feet     the smack of a stick

in a                                         soft palm

a gaping grate                   of rusted metal


the sounds of                       countless

inconvenient                           truths

assembling                       for a reckoning



Irish-Australian, Anne Casey is author of where the lost things go (Salmon Poetry 2017, 2nd ed 2018) and out of emptied cups (Salmon Poetry, forthcoming in June 2019). Senior Poetry Editor of Other Terrain and Backstory literary journals (Swinburne University, Melbourne), she has won/shortlisted for poetry awards in Ireland, USA, UK, Canada and Australia. Poems in— The Irish Times, Entropy, apt, Murmur House, Quiddity, Cordite, Burning House Press, and elsewhere. Website:.; Twitter: @1annecasey

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