Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2019  Vol. 18 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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I lied I was a local
but the red deer knew.
When you’re given anything
in the deep of night
you must take it or leave
even the gift’s memory
to liquid chill sleep.
Leaving gives headache,
burn at the sides of eyes.
I was never from Killarney.
Not even my library card
could teach me honesty.
I was sharpening
a bone to pick the lock
of the library where brave
sinners lived long after
finishing, vivid in rhythm
or figure while I sank
in the bog of my lie,
shaped to its mold
like cold porridge,
petrified by passage
of time. At the lake,
deer waited for the ancient
elk with its ghastly gray
skull, with its rock-like
rack, to rise; waited,
milk-minds behind coal
eyes, for me to find
my true tongue,
ears twitching to catch
—if ever—
its first trim

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