Return

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She cries grey,

like the wash from the ink brush when

there is only an eyedrop of ink,

there isn’t black.

She calls catastrophe:

it appears, above.

There was no octopus, no graphite, no soot,

nothing could be written,

pages were washes,

scribbles carved flirty moons and moonslices.

 

She wakes,

she engages friends,

with her concern.

They walk and walk.

 

I was hands less.

I was less open-eyed,

my breasts not bound

There were things I dismissed

including rust

I knew what I liked.

 

They found the man to be be angry, and, worse, absent.

 

A humbug, though, offered what he had to

travelers from the desert.

Even a humbug in a white-gleam

city where everyone

wears tinted lenses,

where there is no such thing as clear.

He has a way up,

a way out,

to Omaha, back

to Omaha,

where my grandparents

and my great-grandparents

were buried in their good clothes.

The humbug said,

“Let’s go.”

I, on Friday nights, dreaded equally

the empty apartment

the friendless bar.

“Let’s go!” said the humbug, who also believed we would never know or need magic again, as he was not magic.

The wizard left alone.

for Omaha,

where my grandparents

and my great-grandparents

are buried in their good clothes.

My great-grandmother Mabel,

who fed me knox blocks and

studied Latin and Greek,

My great-grandfather, who dressed the dead,

My grandmother, buried with her withered mind and worn heart.

My grandfather, whose heart exploded and silenced his squeaky chuckle.

My great-grandmother who stitched.

My great-grandfather who made bathtub gin.

I will not return to Omaha.

I have the shoes.

And I will leave in a click

of a glint and

with color in my eyes.

 

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