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Poem: At My Poetry Reading My Eyes Skip Over a Word 

The entire audience sit mesmerized by my reading
or they are sleeping, or thinking about their to-do-list
or, more likely, the poems they are about to read
for open mic, when I read a line from my poem
that doesn’t sound right, doesn’t roll off my tongue
as it has a thousand times and I realize I’ve skipped
a word, a short but crucial word on which the whole
thing hangs. Now, awkward, gaping, gone. The line
has passed into air, no retraction, no excuses, only
the push forward—the figure skater who loses
her triple axel and stands smiling as if the thing
she dreaded most of all hadn’t just happened.

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