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November 25, 2020
The smell was profound, suffocating, singular. My skin and clothes stank until I washed them; I had to stop at a gas station and wet my shoes under a faucet and scrub them with disintegrating Kleenex because the smell hung so potently in my car. It was dead fish and bird droppings and the bottom edge of a body of water, brought to the light and baked too hot. I once visited a blooming corpse flower at the Huntington and it smelled alive, at least. This was death of a hundred kinds braided together.
November 18, 2020
Where there is no fact, there can be no consolation. 

We chose to be plural in the presumed grace of what

is presumed to be moving in the dark. 
November 11, 2020
You, Shtuli, went to a school and sang a few songs.
            The children, with skybright eyes, listened rapt, their mouths hanging moistly open.

Strumming my balalaika, I, Shtuli, sang.

Shtuli, you asked Asfalyi, your child, to come to a noisejazz concert with you.
            “I’d rather stay home and read my grimoire tonight, to be honest, Boombi,” Asfalyi said.
            “That’s all right,” you gloomily said. “I’ll go by myself.”
November 4, 2020
Fossilized by an inner stare
at an eroded mountain, the hollows
in cloudy blue rounds, I can’t speak
for the lump in my throat (self-doubt,
a bud vase’s short lyrics of flowers
 
October 28, 2020
Learning how

a strong stake aids
a slender, unassailable 

stalk is a matter of self-
denial and solace.
October 21, 2020
Send more Chuck Berry, went the joke—how the aliens would reply when they got their first spin of the Golden Record on the Voyager. Sweet, friendly aliens with toe-tapping rhythm (whether or not they had feet), an appreciation for sweat and guitar riffs pooling together even if they had no first-hand experience with either.
October 14, 2020
I like the black & white. I like
the mirage they create. I like
            planes. I like stray dogs
who never forget where I come from.
October 7, 2020
(Ashram, North India)
The woman knocking on my door has a dilemma. She only has x-amount of time per day to dedicate to prayer. So, on whom should she focus her prayers? The migrants who are starving, the people with the virus, or those of us stuck here? If us, which one of us? How much should self-interest factor in? Should she pray the most for the woman with the slight heart condition or the woman she most wants to leave the ashram?
September 30, 2020
The birds here 
Have not changed
They drop salt not seeds
Into my open mouth

Now—my back bare to the sky
Breasts buried in soil
Thrust into the darkness of this
Searching out each star
September 23, 2020
A poem listens
to both rooms from the middle
ground of its title, the threshold strip
 
September 16, 2020
An exhibit was all you wanted

and me to lay close
my face

like a film behind a curtain
September 9, 2020
When I thought of their home life, I pictured them hunched beside flame, firelight bringing out grime on their faces.

     Between my mother and grandmother, Mrs. Hufferman is always referred to as Lilly.
June 30, 2020
The bones and crosses left out for him an emerald

Cicada dying attended by ants the emperor’s pleading face

All over town I dragged it behind me like a wing
June 29, 2020
A Selected Text from Conjunctions:74, Grendel’s Kin: The Monsters Issue
Quisa had fallen into the habit of disappointing herself, and then disappointing herself a little more, with the words she let slip from her mouth. She kept talking to people in this hungry, intimate way, as if they too had spent the time of their lives in their heads and read the warning labels too closely and worried irrationally about their lymph nodes. Accidental confessions are what these amounted to.
June 23, 2020
Four cops come. Both parents are arrested, D&D. The children—William, six, and Stephanie, three—are taken by CPS.

     The neighborhood will be quiet for almost two weeks.
June 22, 2020
A Selected Text from Conjunctions:74, Grendel's Kin: The Monsters Issue
After the bites. After the appearance of what, under one of the wobbly lamps in the employee dressing room/lounge, looked like three welts on T.’s forearm and two little ones on the webbing between S.’s index finger and thumb. After they (zombie fans all of them, horror fans all of them, gore fans all of them) whooped for October 1, whooped for the whole damn month, whooped for another year at the Haunted Farm, which was the only thing they loved in otherwise miserable Olney, Maryland.
June 16, 2020
An Online Monster Supplement
After a long battle, the Department of Special Needs approved my request for a monster.

     It should have been a good thing. There was a long wait list for the monsters, which had only recently been developed. During lunch at the treatment center, when everyone heard I had been approved for a monster, they clapped and congratulated me. I had been waiting for a monster for years, as had many of the other clients, but I still had misgivings.
June 15, 2020
A Selected Text from Conjunctions:74, Grendel’s Kin: The Monsters Issue
When the Moon Fairy arrived, blown in through an open window one summer night, we were all surprised by how much it resembled Sylvie. Of course, it was much smaller—no longer than Sylvie’s forearm, the perfect size to take its place among her forgotten dolls—but its small, shimmering face was a tiny image of hers, like a portrait cleverly formed from beaten tin.
June 9, 2020
From Watch Night
that mineral sacrifice, nacre-pled
a knitted there

the commercial
pleat, which the body recognizes
squint
of your courtesy, liege & master
May 26, 2020
Coworkers drop me off at a cutting-edge camp for the talkative so I have people other than them to bore for two weeks such as the doorman with the bad left knee who I tell about my bad right knee as we are exiting applauding vehicles under upstate trees
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