Back From The Dead

Back From The Dead I wait, patient as leaves. You like to speak of pleasant topics, & keep the thicket of the heart unmentioned. My breasts have changed, their fullest moment wasted. We will have to make our peace, me & the skeleton, me & the hourglass. I cracked the ice, a blow that brought […]

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Spit

When my grandmother got married strangers spit on her white dress as she left the cathedral, hissing Communist! When I was 12, I spit on my friend, a bubbly blob on her nose—her face, confused. I thought it would be funny. But what I felt was shame. Around the same age, on a Ferris Wheel, […]

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Dream Sense

I dream of missing planes, my mother’s ghost, dressed in cold weather clothes. We are in my grandfather’s closet, which, in the dream is a ballroom fallen into disrepair. I need to tell her she is dead, but when I ask if she wants me to be honest, she says: “Not if it’s something I […]

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A Leaf Falls

We buried your grandfather’s body in a graveyard in old Virginia. I stood somber in a cheap black dress bought for the funeral, my eyes downcast, not belonging. In the nursing home we carried out boxes, and the elderly gathered like dry leaves, rustling, winter-haired. I wanted to sing to them, but instead I walked […]

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Reckoning

Reckoning Men finger pockets, lick lips, squint into the bright light of too much possibility. Women narrow eyes like foxes guarding layers. The world has become Winter. They read about growing tomatoes, generators; watching the headlines and the skylines, skittish, waiting. Storms in the sun, holes in the sky. Your father holds his bible, looking […]

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Filling The Night

Every year frogs hatch in our pool. Each night, a grinding chorus, throaty and pleasing, through the window as dusk falls. They’re all going to die, my husband says, they’ll get sucked through the drain. It ruins it for him. Not me, I love their dark, wet sound. It doesn’t seem so different from our […]

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Jewels

You must never, I say to myself, curse life again. The beauty comes from the difficulty, the trap-door -ever-giving-way-to- trap-door infinite capacity   of life. That we survive it is amazing, that we suffer is beautiful, because we are suffering in jewels. Glittering in the sun with all the decadent superb richness of our life’s […]

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Winter Fruit

By mid-February we have forgotten the taste of strawberries. We make love with bombs falling in deserts we’ll never see. This room is silent, save for the sound of our own breath. Perhaps we feel as though twilight is falling too quickly. We close our eyes and breathe into each others mouths.

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You’re Not Just Seeing Things

My husband explains harmonics to my mother. She keeps mishearing him and he repeats himself. Several vodkas make him patient. “It’s more complex, but at the same time, mellow,” he says, laying his hands on the Wurlitzer. My mother, with chess pieces in her hair, in her pajamas, in the autumn of her life. This […]

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August Heat

It was the summer I was investigating my desirability in the typical foolish way of girls, seeing how many boys I could get to want me. You were living with that band, “Slut Magnet,” an unfortunate name for you, the only girl. We sat outside in the white plastic lawn chairs, drinking mimosas to the […]

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