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51 Austin Hummell In the Great Green Room Think how our voices slow and octaves fall when we read to the sleepy, how lazily we grope for the page when it runs out of words and pinch off its corner as if rubbing granules of salt into a soup we haven't yet decided to trust. How the turning stalls the sport of cows, the repose of bears, and our faith in rhyme as it leaps, slantwise, from room to moon. Night wants a rhythm slowed by pages as much as a lamp does, but the lamp wants a book slowed by the grin of a mouse. The hands, they prefer the symmetry of mittens stiffened by fire. The heart understands the need to goodnight a room made sentient by a child's fancy, a world a window barely frames, stars and all. Paint says green is a secondary color, like the room after the room your mother burped you into. Pitch is what swallows light, and the baby girl panting into a monitor is who swallows her mother most of all, Goodnight saddlecar, she says, goodnight milk. Good riddance to hats and beefjerky and shoes. Goodnight mail and tissue and hair. Goodnight things the room has to tear. Goodnight dumplings and thumbs and mirror and god. Goodnight my ma, my face, my oh. Goodnight yellow bird. Goodnight no. 52 the minnesota review Nights Like Renfield Never bit a rosy throat, arms white as wax or finer. My gorge lifts a hiccup sometimes in rage over a lost cent, same as if the whole pig broke over a toilet poised to flush. Even my thoughts unpurchased turn to copper the fifth of all presidents, the one born to colic and impossible hats, and over the cusp of each wan cheek steals a bead to betray how even the fullest flame inside me is but a fly to snuffby swatter or cup. I am not a tropic. The length of my hair never said. On the bus to school, no one noticed the bone that raised math from my lap. Never a ward where mercury rose to health under the press of my tongue. I throve in the muteness of vinyl and the company of stamps. For all those and that, I now see death in the resting face, lunch in the web of a vagrant spider. Somewhere down the icky twirl of a stair comes a man with a Mein Kampf part in his hair and a fondness for plush that I just die for. If I lock myself in the vault of his wanting or crane to his incisors, what of it. No one's ever wanted me that much. ...


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