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The Listener

Carol Guess

It was like collecting stamps and licking them all at once. I sang with the others in a minor key, enjoyment utterly without blowback. Then Teacher bent over fourth grade me and said, Don’t sing. Lyrics eloped, stalled in the white space between notes. Time stopped without someone struggling against it. Black-and-white chords purred from their throats Oh, Shenandoah, I love your daughter I was told not to. Teacher was center, baton. I was silence, audience. Beyond us recess stilled its swings. A six-toed cat buried a doll’s head in leaves.

Carol Guess

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