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ISSUE:  Winter 1993
I wait for one more call,
your voice soft as the marrow
I’d push my tongue into
then suck and swallow
as a child. Tomorrow I’ll hope
for an envelope fat with love
or on this autumn evening
when the paper birch outside my window shines
yellow and the staghorn sumac orange to red—
its berries clumped like excitable clots—
the phone, white as bone licked vulture
clean, will ring. I crave this magic
as I did from the dead animal

on our table when I was little,
reaching deep into its carcass
for the fragile shape
of happiness—the snap of being
able to say it’s mine, I can have this wish.


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