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JUNGLE GLIDERS / Roger Weingarten I was kneeling with my daughter into a chaos of frog-shaped jigsaw cutouts guaranteed to coalesce into animal acrobats that range the upper levels of South Asian jungles, when, looking up at the Dragon Lizard's ribs spread into wings pictured on the box my son, making bomber sounds, held over my head, I remembered the roach that fell out of the fist-sized hole in the ceiling of my first furnished room, almost eighteen and kneeling between your pale knees in the air, mine dug into the heap of coats and blankets that covered the concrete carpet of my basement palace, where we were struggling for warmth and pleasure, when the gold-bellied angel of retribution, like a miniature landlord, dropped through the punch-drunk hole in my character, through the onion-scented fumes from the heater jammed in the window and landed on your freckle we'd christened The Third Eye. Watching the impossibly thin legs, upside-down and flailing, spinning the hard shell, my junglegliding Paradise Tree Snake slid out of you into the bedclothes. Your cupped hand pulled me toward your tongue hovering between your teeth, like the barely visible eye of a Red-tailed Flying Squirrel, as if to will our privacy and concentration no matter what. Just as your other hand splayed across the small of my lower back nudged me into you, the insect, whose family tree had inhabited 25S · The Missouri Review every Eden, oasis, every four-star constellation of food and drink, righted itself and ran like three little bodies portaging an upturned canoe toward the secret passageway of memory, where I loved you when I wasn't running on anger, an adolescent ground predator, dogfaced and tracking the family blood into the trap of my first poem. Is this the Flying Lemur of Colugo, my daughter wondered, reaching for the upside-down creature, its claws around a branch, sheltering a smaller version of itself on its belly, the passenger staring at the gecko gliding toward tropical bark, where yellow-flowered Spider Orchids trail out of ferns, like your hair between my fingers, while our bodies collided and turned toward separate futures, and the moonlit shadow of the jet bearing Kennedy's body swept a million dreams into the ocean. Roger Weingarten The Missouri Review · 259 STOMPING THE BEAVER PALACE /Roger Weingarten Water flows down the mountain into a claw foot tub in the cellar, where I circle a skunk curled up in the furnace and a half-blind vole feasting on a plate of poisoned wheat. Sometimes the water pipe jutting out of layers of fieldstone seizes up in winter, sometimes the World War II water heater pilot blows itself out, or I get the urge to watch the groundthaw in April purl into the sump pump buried in the coal-studded floor, scrape my skull against a square-headed nail pounded into a beam a century and a half ago by the farmer who hollowed out a future in unobliging soil and aim my flashlight into the crawlspace, where a predator made a furious meal of a mourning dove. I crawl in and twig to how it feels to orbit a planet in a claustrophobic tin can or lower myself into a smokestack with brush and chains. From this eye socket perch, I press my palm to the light like a fortuneteller revealing the redshadowed future of my bones, turn it off to see myself in the dark execute a buck and wing on the mud-and-stick tiled roof of a beaver palace, then slap and dive toward the entrance into the catacomb. Upstairs, and still bristling at my refusal to attend courses in synchronized breathing and belly-dancing, 260 · The Missouri Review she spears the blackened remnants out of the toaster, our child, upside-down and floating inside her, ready to scream Roger Weingarten The Missouri Review · 262 DEAR MIKE / Roger Weingarten My half oí the closet floor is a sideshow of shoes I've tucked into cartons of knickknacks and clutter, skipping town because of a job or marriage gone sour in the cab of a rented truck. Sometimes, I'll...


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