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CategoryPoetry

 

SHE SHARK [HOW TO CIRCLE A TANK]

Some sharks must swim, constantly, in order to breathe. That’s why, when confined, she circles the tank like a madwoman. [I go to see the shark at the aquarium, I find I am unprepared for her sadness] [How to circle a tank? Asks the she-shark, asks the soldier] A shark …

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Isolation

in my parents’ basement pretending the desk is a bar top pouring-can-into-glass acting as the girls who work the taps who are kind and smile for tips and are fragile as falling glass, smash. here i chew my finger skin and drink until i sleep because my teenage mattress in …

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photo of my grandmother climbing a fence

she wears the sky because the sky knows the distance. it is a blue cascade, blue as grief, as drowning. her hands are emaciated brown, holding her up. over the fence. over and over again, dementia takes over my grandmother. over my grandmother, dementia takes and takes and takes and …

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Are They Lisianthus?

My eighty-year-old mother says no, no, I think they just are. She doesn’t remember names, what was. Roots sunk deep, she just is. I dream of gardens: boxwood labyrinths where I might lose myself. Some place where the planted surpasses the planned. Untended blossoms become brambles. Brambly thicket, her mind. …

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Artifacts

I could tell you that I’m brave, but brave is a lie. I could tell you that I’m doing well, but that denies the very nature of loss.   This is an archaeological dig, everything contained & conjured. It’s raining/blackbirds. I drag a duffel, grey, onto the porch & start …

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While He Works, the Electrician Chats

about disaster. Connections at switches twisted just a bit loose. Squirrels in the attic, sharp teeth and splintered copper. Breakers corroding themselves into spark. Outlets that smell like burning because they are. Now he’s sawing a hole in our sheetrock. Says the air behind walls can whip with current. Arcing …

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Worn

This distressed pair of cut-off shorts once belonged to my best friend’s high- school boyfriend. My favorite tank top? A t-shirt, sleeves sliced away, traded with a stranger one summer, dark of the dive bar hiding whatever we might want hidden. All of our clothes are falling apart. Did you …

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Lookout

He took a week to gather his things and move into my body. Not what we’d packed in his coffin. Pickaxe, Maine gold, tourmaline, his dog’s ashes. Only what would not press for space. Breath, curses, dreams. I couldn’t explain. I tried, said I was inhabiting my body as a …

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Pietà I: afterbirth

once the gushing stopped I got a good look at him— at the boy I mean—he crowned this morning that bloodless god took blood from me & lord he fumbled blind like a puppy for my milky-eyed nipple teeth ached & we stank in the filth of us our new …

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I Hold God at Morning in a Prayer

Dear God, see me walking with my darkness. See me at this corner with rotten pears in my mouth. I have spoken so much about the leaking memories in my bones. I have spoken so much about my worries that I wonder if anyone listens. The tears I know are …

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