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Cate Marvin

BPR 49 | 2022

It was lonely like that, sitting there, ugly-like.
Sat down sudden on the stoop and lit a cigarette.
She wore a beard of smoke. She heaved with evidence.

The surveillance van hauling bones of Cold War
enemies twisted round the corner of Moody onto
Morning, its wires within conducting an analysis

of the outrageous slowing of her pulse, marking
now her departure from sense, into the freeze.
The neighbor’s curtains twitched with evidence.

A middle-aged lady with her head in her lap.
Across the street, curtains twitched with neighbors.
Who does that? She once cried on the subway.

This was way worse. A young woman was pushing
her baby down the same street, past the stoop
upon which her bent legs were bent, her head

dropping its dead weight against the soft denim
sheathing her knees. Dogs moved jubilant, autumn
thralled, pleased to be alongside so many legs.

Head set heavy as a metal plate atop her bent
knees, she sensed the plastic flowers stuck in
window boxes across the street were menacing

the gods. All the world was bent on a limb, was
elbowing in with its analyst crouch, hinting at its
covert codes, tapes pregnant to unspool sobs she

could spill down the step of her stoop, leak onto
the streets. How she’d liquefy dogs’ happy howls
as they lapped the greasy pools of her discontent!

She sits now on a stoop atop bones like shards,
her flabby ass, as his laugh comes back up her
throat, thinking back to a dinner party when she

was ten, his one friend from work chortling as
he poured his face into a glass, The poison gas,
my favorite project!
She looks like anybody.