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by K. A. Hays

As was forecast, the windows hold the fingerprints
that blotted them yesterday; the fence keeps
each plank at attention, the chimneys usher through
the ghost of wood. On certain days I’d hope
for the bricks to thump out of their mortar, primed
for a higher course. For the porch pillars to stalk off
their platforms, shrugging at the collapse; for any mass
rebellion of the quiet functioning things. Instead,

the juncos wallow and thrash in gutters all over town,
even in my gutters, with their holes larger than eye sockets
weeping wet rust. Like a great plot, the pipes and wires push,
the pavement trills with our going, the street signs point everyone
silently and usefully onward. I’d be on my way, walking barefoot
toward the coast, but who would ferry my boat? Would it be small,
wooden, painted blue? How would I know it was mine.


K. A. Hays’s poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Southern Review, Missouri Review, Antioch Review, New Orleans Review, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere. She is also a fiction writer and verse translator whose work has appeared in Hudson Review, Gulf Coast, Cimarron Review, and other magazines. She holds the first Emerging Writer Fellowship at Bucknell University. (9/2007)

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