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Traci Brimhall

In a bullet-riddled villa we choreograph swordfights
and sing to militant termites feasting on the walls.

We read newspapers from headlines to horoscope.
Our nights too long. Our bed too big for every room.

We turn invisible doorknobs, light ignus fatuus chandeliers.
The storyteller paints her body when she loses her voice,

and we pass her around a circle, naming what we see—
Myrmidons! Saturn!–a storm flickering in the god’s eye.

On her hip, the ascendant unborn. A thigh of white
bellbirds sunning on an alligator’s back. An arm of starfall

in daylight. We warn the children it will be a small story,
a smaller house, the smallest mermaid’s purse preserved

in a jar. Era uma vez… Lightning on the Atlantic looking
for trees. A nautilus moaning a monody. There is no

ending to be had. Sleep kisses our eyelids. Stars wheel in
the dreams. The river plants its tide in us, saying, sea, sea, sea.

— Traci Brimhall, “After All the Lullabies Vanish from the Library,” 32 Poems (Vol. 10, No. 2, Fall 2012)

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