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If I Could I Would

I gather words from street
corners and between couch
cushions if the shine catches
my eyes by surprise, treasures
like lucky pennies or river rocks.
They are not for shelving, to be
quietly admired and dusted for
fingerprints, to ward away gray
specters in doorways, or to
save up in an empty pickle jar


to buy love.
These toys are for playing, for
piling and rolling in like leaves.
They flit this way and that like
night hawks snapping up moths.
I spill them though my fingers,
plucking them like harp strings.
I weave them together with
synapses and syntax and
make myself a bracelet that
I rub between my fingers

all day long.
When my teeth ache from it,
the strain of fitting fly-eyed
puzzle pieces into missing cloud
shapes, I snap each one apart
until they crumble in my palms,
blind, scattered letters that I
toss down my red throat,

one by one.

They take seven years (of bad


luck) to digest.





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