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Lori Witzel
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Cormorant
Thorolf Holmboe, " Hekkende skarv (Nesting cormorants )," 1903 I glanced up and saw a smooth spot in the river's current—almost a lens, a focus for my eye, and I watched it. In a moment both fast and slow: the needle-beak piercing the scrim, then the rest o...
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Ballast seed
Perkons, " Purple Loosestrife ," 2017 Also see Meyer's "How the Invasive Plants of New York Represent the City’s Colonial Past" All potential, a mote, the glossy testa keeping its secrets until the ballast box is scraped empty, until the rains come. And the...
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Binding
Rembrandt van Rijn, " Woman Reading ," Date Unknown In a small stone building, dating back to the Revolutionary War—this was where we went to find treasures hidden within a second skin of foil-stamped buckram, or sheathed in Mylar. My small hand in my fathe...
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Squall
simpleinsomnia, " Crying little girl reaches for someone off camera ," uploaded 2016 The toddler—red-faced, wild. I can’t recall how we’d soothe her, soothe ourselves. Did we never learn how? Her back stiff and arched, choking as she sobs “NNNnnnoooooo,” pe...
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Harp
" Drachm of Ephesos with bee, struck under Prytanis ," 387–301 BCE, Museum of Fine Arts Boston Even Charon needs a place to rest, in the stygian twilight—a place to put his feet up, close his eyes for a moment as he waits for the next passengers to appear. ...
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Portal
Edward Hopper, " Rooms by the Sea ," 1951 I’m right there, right here, where that white paint chalks a bit on my hand. Tear-stains at the hinges, from rust, I think—or maybe other pentimenti. (The wind catches on the doorframe, whistles the same tuneless wa...
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Respite
Howard Kopp, "Three Sisters and Fog," 2017 There’s none, here where my bare hand brushes the hot skillet handle. Only for a second. The lag time almost countable (“one thun-der, two thun- der”) and a lightning reflex jerks me back—then the boom of pain. In ...
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Epigraphy
Juncos emboss the soft ice-crust beneath the feeder with their footfall. It’d be wrong to read their marks as runes, but (since I’ll make meaning from the most unlikely things—someone else’s cast-off grocery list, vanadium, my scarred skin, a toy dinosaur) ...
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Lacrimal
Unknown photographer, "A beach scene," 2017 At the corners of my eyes, tear stains dry to sand and grit. I walk along tide-pools as a shorebird, in my dreams; I wade through a slow-moving estuary, picking at clams buried in silt mud. I wake and knuckle the ...
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Mesquite
A little bird tsk-tsk’d me as I stood up, four small stones in hand, near dad’s gravesite. So few Jews here in the memorial park—he would like knowing we’d observed some of the rituals, like placing stones on his marker in remembrance, one for each of us. M...
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