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By Timothy Matthew Perez

the clouds threaten uselessly: herds of elephants
march across the dry wastelands of a dead landscape,
and somewhere eliot is blushing.

if i collected every single thought i would
have an ocean or at least a pickle jar of pennies.

the unevenness of my sleep causes me to walk
around my home with one shoe, i crack open
the door to my children’s room, the sun through

the curtains shines their heads like a soft cloth,
as i continue to swing on these knives of night.

and i share with their eyes how i hate my voice
because it only makes them weep when i come
in swinging words like heavy tools.

and i whisper into the thin canvas of their eyelids
that reveal themselves to me like maps showing
the dangerous routes and the safe routes and tell them:

i’ve learned to talk only when you sleep, even if you
can’t hear me or don’t answer back.

my ring has become ill-fitting, my skin tender swollen
black needs to be circumcised, exorcised, crucified.

i leave out the words you want to hear; replace them
with marks that punctuate the air like hungry birds chasing
the awkward flight patterns of moths and butterflies.

i swallow cartridges painstakingly reloaded waiting.
so when the time comes: do me one favor: become my eulogy,
trust me, i’ll be the first to go. and the rain has yet to let up.

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