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by Elizabeth Wyatt

Boxed in our stark place on Quincy
we sat stewing like two leftover meals.
I finally went out, but you stayed congealed
on the couch, watching Jeopardy!
with your dagger-clawed cat balled on your knees.

He lazed like a fat furry seal.
His wide lime eyes abraded the scene
with their acrid animal truth, part green,
part yellow, separating real
from human, from an invisible feel.

My late-night arrival strategy
was to silence him with tuna fish.
I scrubbed my hands while steel-wooling the dish,
but they stank pathologically
of what swam in and through my brain’s debris:

silver flesh-flashes thin as the cloud-wisps
that drifted, meshed thick, and spread calm as caulk
overhead. I lay on the couch and sulked
while you slept, as you sleep: hard, one fist
punched deep in your pillow’s puckered coolness;

but, restless, I changed. Went for a walk.
No one in the neighborhood was awake.
I walked through the park to the sewage lake
and there, where you’d always balked
at the smell, held your breath, refused to talk,

a slim white bird posed in the muck.
Its noodle-neck straightened and arched as it pecked
at some object bobbing pale in the cess—
no Wonder bread heel, no fish; but a duck.
In fury it ate. Could not get enough.

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