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 Victoria Else


A man on the stoop flares a bic lighter;
but the air doesn't move aside; too heavy.
Hundreds of leaves on young maple branches
lie like dirty rags against the sky
a star or two cuts right through the streetlight.
I cross the street to home: the twisted scrim;
two cats beg in their small voices for fish.
I could spend all night on that ragged stair;
inside, my fans groan and grind and clatter,
lights hum along with the hard drive.

Quickly I reach out: I use the key;
no fourth-quarter choke; no sudden death.
In the photograph on the freezer door,
I move my hand, he watches, everything blurs.

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