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STANDING ON THE LAWN OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOUSE WITH A MATCH AND A GALLON OF GASOLINE

This morning in the cupboard I found
your last quarter-inch of whiskey settled amber
in the mason jar same burn on the horizon
the last indian summer you sat naked
at the kitchen table carving the nectarines
free from their stones

When the cold math of winter arrived early
that year I thought the first fist you seamed into
my cheekbone was to get to the proof,
to the pit of the marriage 

You asked if somewhere we find the itch
of the lumber do we find compassion
for the ax-blade that splits it—

I used to lie down inside my own stitches
and let the dawn-light farm their black to noon,
now I run like a ragged dog over
the tight bow of their edges: it doesn’t
make any difference what angle I work
my heart against them,

I still don’t know what kind of woman
I am.  But as the flame nears the fingers
that trust the match, as close as the skin
can stand it to singe, I call this the nerve
to find out—

Posted 03/16/15
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