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Jane Doe


ISSUE:  Fall 2005

The day they drag the river to come up with a girl
will be a long one—

whatever silt-covered ghost they’ll raise,
tangled in grasses and bulrush—

will be the day you decide to forget all about
the night travel of such broken women,

the odd nomad, here and there;
their features blur softly in the bottom-dirt

of last call. They turn mineral. You have only to whisper
the faintest promise to them—they blow away

like powder. But no one goes missing
forever. They settle, maybe far downstream

from the place they called home. Mandible, though emptied
of dental work, the wide stone butterfly

of pelvis. It has a name: female. There is an answer
to the jawbone that’s been stretched wide around

a question—a gone one—and a story: listen very closely:
it, too, once bent to this life, hands bound.

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