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TWO FIGURES IN MT. HOPE CEMETERY / Jack Heflin We didn't see the night shift pause in the barred windows of Brown Shoe Co. to look out over the graveyard where we lay hidden between the grass mounds, our bodies packed close as soil, the taste of our sex rising in mist. At fifteen we did not fear the dead beneath us. That was twelve years ago and smoke still gushes from the huddled stacks in its hurry to resemble nothing. I once hoped you wouldn't follow forty years of family, take a job stitching leather: the racketing, thick needles. I've come back alone to the damp ground of our first undressing to watch those window lights burn, if not in forgiveness, then to feel some gain in the repetition of parting. Where I sit under the cedar my hands have stiffened in the mold of fallen needles. At least you have a place. I watch exhaust escape above a car that idles outside the cemetery's gate. Clocking out this morning you'll walk past these bent rows of stones, past your mother's house and the window you would slide from like a thief. The Missouri Review ยท 15 ...


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