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Not carry it to the breakfast table, the shower, the tying of shoelaces. Not bring it down the stairs and out into the fog-covered parking lot. Not walk by whistling it under the cherry trees, not sing it while the frog crosses the path. To cut it off at the edges. To tear it down from the sides. To shred the billboard poster turned-up advertisement strip mall phone call. Let it ring. Not wear it to bed at night, not watch it skip back and forth—over the fence, now under, round the fence and up the hill, down the hill and over to the trees that sway, then stop. To watch it gather there in the dust—a cloud, storm cloud. To watch it twist now, over on the other side of the bridge. Twister. Let it go dark. Not wear it into sleep where a woman sends her children off behind a door. Open the door, now close it. Open the door, now close it. Check behind the door, the closet, the fireplace. Check the stove, the dryer, the Christmas lights, that thing that happened over there behind the bushes, ten years ago. Where the hell is it, and what did she say? And then I said, yes, I said, “I find that rather shocking.” But, not. Not bring it. Not into dreams. Not into rain, waking and the chickadee dee, dee. To cut off the tips of the roots. To prune it out. To take it out of jeans, stockings, sheets. To take it out of closets, the stairway, the shelves. Blink. Slap water. Let it make its noise back and forth, around the room. Let it creep behind the desk. The old night watchman’s out swinging his flashlight from house to house, his car slow, his wide light stares at the shared driveway. To put the girl to bed who watches him from a window. To not watch, not window.
Anna Catone’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cortland Review, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Lumina, Post Road, and elsewhere. She lives in Pittsburgh, where she teaches at Duquesne University and is associate editor at Coal Hill Review.
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