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Poetry

I peel your poems from my skin

I peel your poems from my skin like so many layers of rotting flesh. How I once loved you and how you once

wrote to me in the dead of winter and−

“One cannot stop believing illusions when they become real− if something were not there, can it ever be?” and yet your voice remains buried in my hands, face the tiny veins under my forearm. Is this where you lie?

Between beds crawling with unfinished hay we watched the morning begin from windows thrown open to the stench of the world, and yet

you never flinched as your nostrils extended, drooped under the barrage.

And how I admire you for that! Walking, unarmed, through the streets of a warring town (or so you said) proves bravery from small earrings set in white gold.

And now, if these words written before I was even born were to somehow become transparent, would I still shed this skin I’ve worn as my own for so many of these years?

Like when you threw a shawl over the back of the door in that abandoned hotel by the river. You called it “home.”

If I could bear to be half as comfortable, I wouldn’t need to write these words.

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