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Jessica Cory

My dear, I am bleeding

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tonight. I will let you
imagine where my wounds are hidden.

There are bears in the woods.
Tonight, coyotes too.

Remember last autumn?
When our elderly neighbor shot the panther
feasting on his sheep? May tonight be
for me so full of fortune.

I have left 12 gauge and bear mace behind.
I have walked into the woods
adjacent to our bathroom window.

When you get this, I'll have been gone 4 hours.
When you get this, I'll perhaps be gone forever.
When you get this, know if I come home tonight
unsuccessful, that I apologize.

Dreaming, Poorly Executed

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It's still alive. It still hurts.
I cannot hear your reply. Your eyes are on the road
past me, out the window
creating negative space in our living room. You see
something, but say nothing. I fall silent.

Usually, you give
the side of the bed easiest to exit from.
But tonight is an exception, unfortunately, and I am
forced hurtling over your dead limbs,
hands and knees on clammy white linoleum,

empty fingers feelings for spectacles
not in their usual spot,

light switches five inches
from where they typically sleep

turned off. Your snores echo through this sanctuary
well-lit and stark in minimalist
interior design. Lime green

digital clock display screams from the stainless steel microwave,
the time is 6:13, and it is
best not to return to sleep.

Saying Farewell to South Carolina

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Cornflower, alabaster, peach— all numbered
or imprinted with algebraic symbols or stolen parts
of some Latin-based alphabet. Bottles with last names
no longer in use since the paperwork went through.

They stare, the firing squad, lined up in their perfect colonial rows
along the coffee table's sharp oaken edge. PDR dosage measurements
jingle on loop, stuck in the synapse like old Beatles' songs.

Wadded up two-ply scatter across fallow taupe carpet, cotton
belonging to the state once considered home. Fields
reminiscent of asylum cell floors, blooming, bolls
full, ready for harvest.

Paradelle for Catholic Guilt

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I remember the blood.
I remember the blood.
How you thought yourself Mary Magdalene.
How you thought yourself Mary Magdalene.
Yourself, blood, you thought.
How I remember the Mary Magdalene.

Like stigmata constantly pouring.
Like stigmata constantly pouring.
No prayer or gauze seemed to stop it.
No prayer or gauze seemed to stop it.
It seemed to stop pouring constantly.
No stigmata like gauze or prayer.

Finally someone stripped the bedclothes.
Finally someone stripped the bedclothes.
You laid to rest on the mattress.
You laid to rest on the mattress.
Someone on the mattress finally laid you.
The bedclothes stripped to rest.

Stigmata, thought Mary Magdalene.
How I remember the bedclothes, the gauze.
Yourself or someone like you, stripped
blood to prayer, constantly it seemed, no.
Finally you laid to rest,
pouring on the mattress.

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