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Lisa Schapiro Flynn

Still-life with River

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We picnic at a driftwood table by the summer Hudson.
A rabbit limps over, one eye milky and staring,
its boned haunch fly-flocked. The terrier smells death.

Three sea kayaks pass, near invisible, the color of water.
We push crackers at our daughter. The terrier barks and digs
as the rabbit inches closer. Heat claps our neck-bones.

We share a sticky banana: this species will be gone
in our child’s lifetime. In our periphery, the Tappan-Zee,
its rusted span having had enough.

The hemisphere’s largest crane perches near,
holds parts of a new bridge, girds metal in a pantomime
of what is soon to be replaced.

The rabbit is here. The terrier just stares.
Look at the bunny, our child says.
Don’t look at the bunny, we say.

The Divorcee at St. Mark’s Café

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The Denver Post leafed
all over the wobbly marble table:

For rent. Capitol Hill Victorian.
Quiet Neighborhood. New hardwood.

I gather sugar packets over the words
in a lopsided pile, blow them down.

Two men tandem past to the smoking section.
They are together.

Through the window beside me,
a dwarf spruce strung too early

with Christmas lights. A bright yellow aureole
surrounds every suspended bulb,

wires threading down to a bare outlet,
roots in moonlit concrete.

Behind me, someone asks
Really? Really?

I wonder how long I’ve been in this place,
trying to hold myself up.

a small piece

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i worry
crusted blood
off my index finger
into a tissue

again i run
my hands along my scalp
pick another hard scab
the hairdresser fusses
over my pocked derma
my friend had that flesh-eating bacteria

she is nice
her nails shiny clean and red
i stop
getting haircuts
my dirty nails
will dig my grave
with each new bit of flesh
how deep
my husband is concerned
my husband is disgusted
i stop
but it’s always there again
my head
this is the routine
i take two fingers
pull a dry knot of skin
down a waiting hair-shaft

follicle to frayed-out end
small burst of pain escapes again
a second’s blank
just a small piece
the smallest

Failed Aubade

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Every night I rejoin us
in strange tensile remake.
I walk with you in the field
beyond the yard, once ours.

Mud beneath my soles
turns cloud.
I am flying, I say.
You are lucid dreaming, you say.

Up and away from you
I soar back home,
over the churning lake,
the nesting eagles.

My breasts fill with rain.
I hover by the window,
watch you walk in alone,
cross our bedroom 15 years gone,
your long back lit green
by lights the former owners strung
in that space above the bed
I still don’t have a word for.

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