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Jenny Morse

from Messengers are birds that speak each letter you or I say

February 12th

of what substance are these thin claws composed
do bones shift and hinge with tendons
as ours do
I supposed cartilage
something light and pliable

how thin the pink fiber which clutches
a white flower delicately
here is my hand, let it clench
here is one foot, let it hold the mandarin tightly
and release

March 17th

These birds begin to snap at your bones,
breaking the flesh.
They call you back to me
and blink at your death.

There's an apple in the half moon of your mouth.
You're inhaling a small bite.
The birds surround the core.
Will you pack the seeds in ice

and send them back to me?

March 27th

Is it houseguests that become
flesh in four days. Food
for your protectors.
I will see your face
all gold fragments
and lemons.

Last summer you hung fly-paper
like streamers from the street light.
Today I saw it dropping limply
caught between bramble and bud.

The night I dreamed of thieves and murder


In Valdivia, a boy
with a cross
strapped to his neck
like a leather flog
carries my bag
and speaks of God.

He       offers me
religion in the same way
he       offers whiskey.

I           drink it
like holy water
hoping the drink will
efface his words.


Aiming guns at my head,
doors and broken furniture.
"Am I still pretty?"
Her left cheekbone breaks away.
    Her left leg pools blood at the ankle.

The house like this one;
I am crying but there's blood in her eyes.

I can't hear what they say;
I can't move from the bed.
Gravity releases me,
or whiskey and water.
My sister appears in the sudden shift of light
and my voice stays calm to answer her.

Shadows cause them to fire
when I swing her into my arms easily.

Thieves stand outside the second floor windows,
twisted together with quilts
and metal bunk beds,

yelling threats into the glass.


after the whiskey,
a boy with black hole eyes
cups berries in two hands

he speaks
with no words

he is a partial man
with impartiality cradled

in his six empty sockets


Somewhere someone's dropped a flower.
It is you
and you are walking
to reflect back to me your

Here in this room
I am breaking into pieces
or breaking you into pieces
or breaking that lost flower into pieces.
Something breaks now
but it has a replacement

Somewhere someone drops a key.
It is to your
house and you are falling
without guards or
hands to assist you.
Here at your door

I am turning the key
or you are turning a key or
turning a key
opens the door to your
house. Someone turns it now
and the door opens to reveal
things already seen
that have shattered and spilled me

backwards and singular.
This key is a knife.
This flower a knife.
A knife your hand and your tongue and
your image replicates itself for effect
and you replicate yourself.

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