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Jul 2022
begin as a small soul-
stretch the ugly-
mind the dew.

Fill each borough with hands praying across beads,
******* in cheeks.
Here you can use the sky
to help you swallow.

Here you wonder historic in an orange wind tunneling
fierce, fluid, fast;
far and full,
Desperate to exhale
and spit down a subway grate.
No one’s looking for utopia anymore:
no rings
no wings.

Walk through haunted architecture for old times' sake.
What does ‘gilded age’ even mean?
On this block, our pipe’s clatter, burn up, and belly,
and the electricity smells.
We wear our shoes even as we sleep.

My body is a tenement,
families cram and people toil
in each room, room, room.
Layers of walls can be peeled off like skin,
we touch our lips and get dizzy.

I’m low light and no fire escapes, you’re growlers
of ale and some sort of horn in the saloon.
Together we are dangerous,
a public health emergency,
an evening that feels like home.

Laughter like glue dripping and drying;
exploring the oakwoods and getting itchy.
A moment, an arm, a radio.
A pinging kind of dire,
a different kind of parade.

His big issue is not company or crowds;
It’s nice girls like me seeing the same heart
but refusing to trip. I walk to bridges,
he stays sown on stoops.

We grip the same maps
but we seek a separate landscape.
I have bad thoughts and become the opposite,
we meet good omens and tuck them in the furnace.
I hear you aching like a slice of too-ripe fruit.
I remember not to look.
Kiernan Norman
Written by
Kiernan Norman  Connecticut
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