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Jill Alexander Essbaum


Morning, I wake to that shuddering
house and I’m urged to follow
a daylight moon. The sky’s attuned.
What’s path is prologue. I’m passed
by a man and his dog. The man bears
bare and rabid teeth. I respond
out of grief and habit alike. Graffiti
mars its barn like a birthmark. A rued,
bidden tension clenches the wind.
And I am in a field of rape again.

And sadness is meant to be had.
The oilseed luster of the heart’s domain.
It is a promise that nobody made. All loss
is fire. It must be obeyed. So the pretty
blond flowers haunt togethers and aparts.
And my backbite is angry as silk, or scars.
Or this jaundiced terrain that used to be ours.

Jill Alexander Essbaum

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