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by Raye Hendrix

NELLE 5 | 2022

a sinkhole

a dying star

the ribcage of a long
-dead fox       its red
given way to skin grayed
by seasons       insects
fuzzy carnivores          birds of prey

a cake with too much leavening
that       like Icarus       rose too high

the lid of my grandfather’s casket
I see in my sleep      his mouth
filling with dirt      hollow
as an open fist      a palm

the menthol balls in the filters
of Camel Crush cigarettes
we lied about smoking

cloud bellies opening for rain

my mother when she got the call
the paramedic on the phone said
fatalities       but didn’t say whose

the trunk       the doors       the roof

of the silver sedan imploding above me

my mother arriving to the scene
upon seeing my body          whole
not the body being bagged          not
the bodies already zipped into black bags

the lungs of the bodies in bags

the mothers with children in bags

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