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Twice in Two Days: Neptune, Ohio

ISSUE:  Fall 2022


and all its straight-razor backroads planted with plaster 
farmhouses bowing to January’s muddy expanse

could make me sleep 

for nothing here resembles the sea—
not a pebble of blue on this quiet path

back to Michigan where just past Kentucky
a plastic bag puffing in the trees fools me for a hawk

before I switch my phone to video chat
for a friend’s empty funeral that moves 

in its own careful pattern in an equally small town
dozens of highways beyond my car, my bindle

sanctuary, which is not unlike the rooms we all
must inhabit where the hymns being spoken (not sung)

are dropping out of earshot. I maintain hope, though,
some friends may gather to play accordion in the spring 

for the still heart of the half body now jiggling 
in my screen’s corner over the road’s pits and stones, 

and thus, I am gone in the way I would be 
if I were in that dim parlor— thinking 

of Election Tuesday at the grocery store instead.
I’d just nervously voted for a livable future 

and there on the produce-aisle floor
between the bananas and crisp lettuce

a stranger was dying. I saw his bright belly convulse
and charge like a rollercoaster until his spine flattened 

and I shied away into a wall of bread to imagine 
what it would be like to fade under all that fluorescence—

the store clerk wielding a mop to paint water around your tremors, 
a few paramedics, and a handful of women clutching 

grocery lists like rosaries as if they too might turn away 
or look intently on as your body shakes up toward God.



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