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To my right,
a duchess is too proud
to call out
But her lusty luck drips with prayer
Or diamonds to the highest roller and graphite to the players.
On third exam’nation
a fugitive might tell
Of the message exalted on granite arches
and etched into expensive bottles of rum:

Remember all’s well that ends well
Lest you end up at the bottom of one

To my left,
poppies are on their ebb
Their candid petals luring me
into the opium-doused slumber
of contentedness
The wind swims with a closed-mouth grin
on its tail-fin, I catch my
have I known how foreign the word

until the poppies called me softly

Pity does not outstretch its comforting arms
from within the jaws of regret that
my pretty-sitting predicament.

Nothing is sweeter
than what you leave when you go
And crossroads will haunt you from miles
and miles and miles
But ghosts catch all the sooner the idle fool that stays.

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