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When a trapped butterfly
flaps its pinned wings
A woman finds the words
“I do” stuck in her throat

While the words “do I love him?”
clamber around her brain.
Was it love that filled
that dark chamber, or simply
spent time?

Spent money
Spent cigarettes
Spent life

The same face flutters
around the vacant factory
of memory.

When an exposed nail
travels through a rubber soul,
and pierces the meaty flesh
of a construction man’s foot,
the pain registers as white light.

At the doctor’s office
the white walls of a waiting room
remind him of a girl he met
two years before. He remembers
the way she held her drink,
and the way her eyes moved
around the room, slowly.
And he remembers why
he can’t conjure up her voice.

He never spoke to her

When a woman looks into the sky,
in the middle of the afternoon
She sees only the color blue.
Impossibly, raindrops fall.
She suddenly thinks of proportions.
The human body is seventy percent water.

An atom, is over ninety-nine percent empty space.

An aging fisherman lies down on the deck,
and begins creating his own constellations;
the horny blonde, and the lonely bastard.
He sees the fires he started,
first with report cards, and later
with the envelopes of unemployment checks.
The motorcycle he never rode
rumbles across the sky,
across country, across continent.

In the morning he pulls in his nets,
a tire bounces away, a license plate
clangs against the deck, and a soggy
rag doll, with red hair, sloshes to
his feet. He leaves them there,
filling as much empty space
as the stars filled the night sky,
on board the SS Forgotten

with all the lovely tuna.

Speaking of...

  • A poem by Steven Wheat.


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