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Linda Malnack

At least that’s how I remember it

You were a rucksack
full of lies and I was slow, left
lightly snowing in the snow. Now
your weatherfront is flurry
and stoop-low.

Just go.

But you walk into my office
with your new dog
and I am fog-founded, rum-
headed, dumb
with glad-sad. You tumor.

You mist.

Your words are spittle-foam
and whittle-waste.
At least that’s how I remember it,
our disunion,


the way you looked at her,
how she peopled
the plaza with her phantasm.
This is all a scam-bake,
a bait-snatch.

Take the hook out of the mouth

of my myopic mis-
understanding and
you oxbow, you slick
of motor oil rushing


The Shape of the Blade

I’m thinking the blade is shaped like a petal, like the petal of a Marguerite in my grandmother’s garden. And I’m thinking a flower made of several of these petals would attract a very fast bee with a very sharp sting. That a flower made of petals like these would have steel shavings for stamens and steel dust for pollen. That a garden filled with flowers like these would shine with all the treachery and beauty of an army.

Someone took a steak knife

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to the piano, gouged its brown legs,
pulled one ivory tooth out by the roots.
Someone rooted in her red boots.

Mary, Mary, where have you
hidden the four gospels, your brothers?
In the tree house? In Colden Creek?

Someone made arrows out of milkweed stalks,
gathered apples in buckets. Under the maple
a war between boys and girls, not knowing
it would always be like this.

Someone took a steak knife to the sun.
Shot the maple with a .22. Punched
my father, one ivory tooth pulled out
by the roots. My mother crying
in her red cocktail dress.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, where is
your sister, Mary? In the cow corn?
In Conner’s Pond?

Someone in red shorts vowed
to marry the maple, stood in front of the gun
and shouted, No! Took the blade away
and threw it in the creek.

There were shootings, even among the stars
that summer, the summer Mary moved away.

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