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by Anna Wythe

sleeping bodies mumble beneath the tree

that overhangs the river. the tree is

filled with crows, folding and now unfolding.

you say your roommate is stuffing himself

with lobster rolls from Maine, a whole icebox.

my throat tears open syllables and spits

a husk. i think nothing. the magnolias

are solicitous towards you. i think

that each white flower is a paper cut

and each petal is a gash of zero,

as you are also. you won’t turn to me,

your face. i wouldn’t ask. i’ve been

studying God and the laws of baseball:

a feast of exegesis. don’t give me

a white stone with a new name. i will choke

on this dry tongue till my hands learn silence.

you’re vivisecting, your fingers uncurl

blood orange peel over the rail. drop it.

when you break the skin, what stutters open?

a mouth, a life disconcerted by you.

the crumpled woman with the cigarette

is destitute, we both know. there are blue

hyacinths tied to the bridge spokes where you

lean and spit orange pips into the Willamette.


About the author:

Anna Wythe is a history student at Cambridge University. All the places she cares about are currently being destroyed by drought, floods or wildfire.


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