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Posthumous

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there’s a girl playing Sweet and Sour
with the maternity ward discharges
in the back lot of the hospital.
some smile back at her bared teeth
and cradle squirming hot bodies,
but some only look, asleep
with eyes open,
wristbands and empty hands.

she sucks on the end of her gunpowder cigarette.
the half moons are anemic
below the brittle fingernails
of hands with hangman’s calluses -
cadaverous, pallid. knees and ankles
cocked at obscene angles; slack joints;
a body
leaned against the slick black of a sedan.

she chats with orderlies during their lunch breaks.
they smoke in synchrony,
and their billowing breaths
carry over the vast lot, a grey shroud.

awake late, she awaits the graveyard shift
stragglers to follow them home.
pillow talker for the guilty,
she offers solace in fetid breaths
and keeps sleep from slipping
between their sheets.



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