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Poetry

The Week Before She Died

I dream us young, again,
mother and daughter back
on 69th Street inside
our old brownstone—across
from the church, patch of lawn— 

a house neglected, wrecked,
as if the family
had been forced at gunpoint
to move away. In corners
dirt stacked like miniscule

Bat House


Turn out the light and I’ll explain. 
—James Fenton

It’s where I’m heading
It’s what I overheard
The lines in the corner
The flaming word.

It’s what you expected
Your greatest fear
A chip in the teacup
Bills from last year.

X.9

Yes, I’m that Martial known all across the world 
for my elegiac couplets, hendecasyllables,

Elegy for the Bully

You have always been nosebleed 
     and nail-bite, the spit-shined halls 
where you harvested us with your tribal 
     clang. Too long we saw your face 
in every shadow, felt the whole forest 
     await your arrival like a nagging frost.  

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