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by Lavonne Adams

  • The fan on the far side of my window
  • and one story down is shrieking
  • its regrets as corrosion clots whatever
  • gears make the whole thing work. At least,
  • that’s what I believe as I pull myself
  • from sleep into consciousness.
  • But it takes only a moment to realize
  • that the sound I heard was really the train
  • making its nightly foray through town—
  • a zipper latching neighborhoods together.
  • How many years has it been since that
  • whistle ceased to speak of yearning,
  • became, instead, like morning’s first flight
  • lifting from the tarmac ten miles away,
  • ten minutes before NPR’s modulated news
  • spills across my bed? How much seems a slip-
  • knot from rote, like miming prayers
  • in church while our schoolchild minds
  • run up and down distant hills? Even now,
  • there’s a sense that we all hypothesize
  • our lives a half-note from what’s real,
  • and tell ourselves Who wants what’s real anyway?
  • until the moment something we can’t make better
  • settles like a bear on our hibernating hearts.
  • And we can’t deny our flesh, and we won’t
  • forgive the fallacy of those dreams.

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