Homework

In science class we learned
the hottest point of steam
is at the tip of the teapot spout—
where streams of swelling heat
rupture the cooler air.

After school, I do my homework
upstairs in my room.
My kid sister murmurs
somewhere,
playing family on her own.

When the clock clicks four
the stacks of the factory moan,
and the sky
gets smudged with smoke.

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The Beard On My Face

She used to touch the beard on my face,
Whether nascent or full,
And stroke it with two fingers.
She would indulge in the bristles
As they bit tenderly into her chin
When we kissed and kissed
The way we used to
Kiss and kiss.
She loved when it was mostly brown and a little blonde and ginger
And loved it more when the white began to overtake the brown and blonde
And touch of ginger.
If I shaved because it’s not our world but theirs
And I must get along sometimes
She would be sad but understanding of that.

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Day Job

After a night of therapeutic bottle and blunt passing
He wakes on earth at 5AM
In a lumpy bed
He goes to the airport in his overalls
Brandishing a handkerchief
He scrubs the thick plastic windows
With long handles bruises
He watches the jets take off
They move hot through the endless sky
With purpose

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Lesson

Lesson Here’s where you work. On this table the chisels lie. Twenty-six. Some have grown blunt with the efforts of carvers before you. In time, tools fail. You work in stone. Cutting on the bias, you strike imperceptibly until something gives. Maybe the stone cries. Once there was lymph, slightly aquamarine. On this bench rests […]

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The High Place

The High Place How many winters gone And how many remain? I’ve seen seedlings Grow to be masts of great ships Felled by men with rum-warmed Bellies Into gentle beds of Evergreen boughs How many more times Will the tamarack fade into A golden amber bouquet That reminds me of the many Sorrows of being […]

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This is a Dove

This is a Dove This is a dove, I think. I’ve never been good at bird identification. That’s funny, now that my job is picking up dead ones killed by the windmills’ spinning blades. There are 60 windmills in this “wind farm,” lots of dead birds. I think I might get a book. I mean, […]

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Stick-Me-Tights

Stick-Me-Tights Embraced by weeds, I harvest boards. I’d rather embrace the young bride who will scrape a bungalow to build a mansion but this old fence, precious like barn wood, weathered yet strong, they’ll use for decor, perhaps the front door. Decades ago in a rougher town I set these posts, nailed these planks for […]

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In All Her Volumes Vast

Thomas Broderick is a freelance writer living in Northern California. He is a member of SFWA and the author of 19 published short stories. In All Her Volumes Vast The hunters, separated by 50,000 years in time and light, awoke early. For one, that meant rising before the sun in his tribe’s ancestral cave that […]

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