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Lately I am more aware of how easily
you might lope carelessly off into a fog
of never and gray, and so when you come
in the morning with your pincers on,
when you wake me with your snorts
and hacks, when you lie down next to me
with your scales poking all my soft places,
I hold you to me. The bruises will heal,
and it isn’t your fault you’re so spiny.
Day, you lower your monstrous head
and let me pat it. You are gleaming
and everything. You are genus unknown,
phylum unnamed. You glint and lumber,
you drool and growl. Soon, maybe,
you’ll let me climb on your back. Soon,
maybe, we’ll bullet together into forests
and glades and gladness. So stay. Walk
beside me with your armor on, breathe
flames at the beasts that bite. If I get singed,
it’s okay. I’d pay levy upon levy
for your glittering shadow beside me.
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Both regulators and employers have embraced new technologies for on-the-job monitoring, turning a blind eye to unjust working conditions.
But I do miss the hymns, / the small, hard apples with their dimpled skin. I do miss / things.
The vast hinterlands of the Global South’s cities are generating new solidarities and ideas of what counts as a life worth living.