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January 3, 2018 | Poetry


Michelle Dove

Woman photo


A cat in lap and breasts betray her. Living a body G asks genetics explain. Ten years her mother goes. Four years six years her doctor is imprecise. The cat outside and G’s breasts divide her. What but vocal others and their internet strength. And who else to celebrate what’s physically undid? Repair in career she’s now tending children. Do you remember the language we’re taught to survive? One apple, two apples, three pears, twenty-seven moon pies. I gave you two melons and you made me no cobbler. Stopping now not even an option. Options limiting as stopping multiplies. Only then does G see what the children have made. What paint worlds undid. Look—a mother with three ears, a father twelve toes. The daughters’ heads are off and falling. Never walking who could with water stalks, vacant celery legs.



Did she leave her husband or was that something she read? First thought of waking and D’s hexed again. Neighbor’s backyard, rose clippings in hand. Perhaps you think about it now more than me? D hands shards to her neighbor. Returns to it inside slant. Cat in the wastebin and uncooked rice on the counter. Who do you blame for your apathy? Putting memory to use. D writes a single object. One sentence the last because. Is catching flip-flops what the internet is for? Is patriotism what cruelty removes? She was once by her peers and for them. Now the poem is a woman. The object is a speech addressed to every person she’s ever met. Leave but don’t forget: there are more important things to address now than forgiveness.



image: Bryan Bowie