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Laid Open

Jason Stumpf

A mother folds at the knee to kiss her child, creasing like the gate of a fence, smoothes his hair and whispers homeward, her mouth a bone button. The world turns on toward worldliness: taxi-wagons trot away, pinwheels spin on fences. Swell of strings. Obsession dictates all ghosts stay their place, the pen’s obsidian nib drag with it the tide through the night soot-blackened of the moon. She tells her story to any chance comer who will ask: of farm and famine, early love. Minor cadence. One hand leads another through the cobbled street instructing. She sickened but survived. Worked, pressed on, and now broke into the tune which had all day long been running in her head.

Jason Stumpf

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