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Dear Poetry This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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You are beautiful and false
honeyed words
and romantic metaphors.
Your subtle subterfuge
ensnares me in a web of ink
but I always scrape my hands
on cloudy truth.

I am not a red bicycle with wheels crusted over by the decay of innocence.

You promised me cliches—
wilting white roses
covers untucked by a father’s craggy hand
a cotton candy sunset
on my thirteenth birthday
dolls that gather dust.
I should be that paper bicycle
should watch my joints corrode
and feel the rain lick my chipped bones
like the tongue of the dog
you told me
is sleeping beneath
the grass.

I deserve something more
than the waiting-room-dull feeling
that filled my stomach
when the waitress
dark-rooted and spider handed
called me ma’am and 

didn’t place a children’s menu
on my barren plate.

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