Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2021  Vol. 20  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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late spring

first thunderstorm of the year passes through
and afterward we lie awake listening to the woman across
the street curse her daughter: i hope you die, she screams,
the pavement steaming between words.

my ambivalence repels words—
we pass it back and forth, hands to hot hands,
but only one of us knows what we’re handling.
you study me in the low light until I feel

like a foreign body. the basil plants feel
their thickening green paradoxical as beauty:
some beetle I’ve yet to see is working down
the leaves as soon as they unfurl.

the dog’s splendid howl unfurls
when I turn off the hose and duck inside.
belonging means that someone is always
on one end of a leash.

even when he slips from his leash,
wet and muddy, shampoo foam flying,
dog never fully flees. it’s the back-
yard chase he’s after.

no one wants to know what comes after
someone’s no longer after you. what I fear:
the curse of indifference, which is also trauma,
a hard mirror, nothing to pass through.

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