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Self-Portrait as Driftwood

Grace Sleeman

It’s February and the trees are bare.

You love the northeast but you feel like the ground

knows you here. Everything is the color of a bad dream you had once. Your mouth

tastes like bile. Your boots are salt-stained and your favorite jeans have bitter mud on

the hems. The sun is setting later and the light flattens everything into

coming home to an empty house. You are a frame and nothing else;

you’ve become hollow in this light. Outside your mother’s house the coyotes bark like

laughing children. You are sorry to everyone you’ve hurt.

You put your hand to the television screen but you can’t feel the static.

What you say is, you want your mother.

What you mean is, you want to be small again.

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