Debunking a Harmless Belief
That no two snowflakes are alike is a
more curious story to tell our children
than the contrary, lies notwithstanding.
Science has proven this assumption,
this myth long believed to be true,
to be false, but why? Why tell an
identical twin that her left eye is
droopier than her sister’s? Pack the
common, customary, generic, ordinary,
unexceptional flakes together into a
patented, particular, personal, perfect
ball and the warmth of your freezing
hand will marvelously reduce it to an
unspectacular puddle. This is the fate
of all snowflakes. Have you ever seen
two puddles that were exactly alike?
For Claudia Emerson
I discovered you on the same day I
learned of your death. I’d heard of you, of course;
what lover of poetry hasn’t? I spent
the last seven years doing nothing but
working, like Jacob trying to earn Rachel.
Finally, I inhaled and you entered
my soul. But when I exhaled, you were gone.
You wrote of the late wife and then became one.
Like a mother who’s miscarried, I ask,
How can I miss someone I’d never met?
Read the poetry of Thomas Locicero
Read a profile of Thomas Locicero
The tree GP attended first; pressed
his cold stethoscope to the bark,
listened, wasn’t sure. Sap was sent
to histology; came back inconclusive.
The tree consultant requested
a twig biopsy; had more sap work done;
reviewed a diagnostic imaging report.
Spoke quietly as he broke the news.
The tree nurse ticked the checklist
box by box, the benefits and risks
laid out dead straight. A fallen leaf
was taken for consent. And now
the tree surgeon’s ready to operate –
he’s wearing boots and denim shirt
instead of suit, a lunch tin
where black bag should be the norm.
No sterilised implements. A grubby
pull cord yanked, the stink of smoke
and petrol in the air. Visor snapped
in place and noise to wake the dead.
Read the poetry of Neil Fulwood
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The World You Have
Given Us Called Life
A long stillness
The sun rises to another great day of joy
war laughter and murder then
a brief shower of happiness disease and dread
Since we all receive sunshine and rain alike
is not all this as it should be?
Dark atrocities gentle kindness
An apprehensive silence
What's going on?
There are cars insects Internet galaxies trees
people guns’ sickness waterfalls bombs flowers
Yet in our often bewilderment is there really
something beyond a feeling of foreboding?
A certain stillness
The children of Terezin who never saw another
butterfly saw a reality that prepared them
in this life and for their tragic leaving
Can you hear their singing?
There is a coexisting radiant reality
that we may not always recognize
whose words we can feel when hearing
the children’s star streaked voices
for those voices may somehow free us
from our pervasive anxiety?
The sunlight is reflecting off a coursing
rain fed stream
Read the poetry of J T Milford
Read a profile of J T Milford
first date …
on to the autumn leaves
we draw a heart
under the spring flowers my stillborn
a snowman on the window …
longest night …
I write one more
letter to myself
mother wraps my doll
in her cardigan
Read the poetry of Archana Kapoor Nagpal
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They periscope out
of sand scrubbed holes,
scuttle and dig tunneling
foamy brown sponge.
Scatter now four
slide drunken in a crazed
Shuttling down into inner sand
Through slime and maze
and back again
to dance a tangled crusty seaweed jig
under hot June sun.
Wretched and wary
of crashing wave
as tides revolve
till night shutters
and moonlit eyes
shift and dissolve
into the mist of wave shadows.
Read the poetry of Michele Riedel
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Glass-less windows, supported by scaffolds,
allow moving sky to descend and intrude
on the latent scene of projected lives
and routines. A mist imbued by
aromas of brine and the drying twines
of foreshore weeds, passes like a breath outgoing,
along naked halls in the half built house;
reclaiming the ascending face
of post-modernity and civilised pace,
slow afternoons that will stand secure
on foundations of an exiled Nature.
Though perhaps the Blood can yet return:
when a wife slams a door into the face
of an erring husband, or a teenage girl
surrenders her first timid jaw to the kiss
of a Summer's love, The music of the world
has learned to command its echoes thus.
No concrete conceived can clear away
the will, the heart, the soul, the power.
Read the poetry of Gareth Spark
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Hang around the coffee shop.
Pawn change off cigarette smokers.
View all the value menu options.
Remember when music channels played videos?
Old Navy commercials featured
the jams; khakis even mannequins
were afraid to wear. Skeletons hobble for the exit.
The matchbox was used, number twenty.
Skaters knees scraped easily, kids played outside.
We are sinking. Carrying our stuffed animals
to the movies, voting for people
we wouldn’t be caught sitting next to at lunch.
Etching our initials into the desk with dull pencils.
Pushing our Trapper Keepers across the bottom of the well;
Gumby & Pokey movements.
Claymation me; when our eyes did not watch
the hours on the clock spin away
in eight hour figure-eights.
I’ll keep my shirt with shoulder pads.
Pull the sheet off of it. Those years
fading quicker than cap guns exploding.
Who cut the cheese? If you’re da bomb,
remove the air from the Sun Chips bag.
Nothing is free. Not even hugs.
Big sunglasses and stale thoughts.
Even the irony of rain on our wedding day
is now a dream.
Someone beam me up
green slime for the trip
game show host personality
and comic bubbles
to keep me away
from current entanglements.
Read the poetry of Alyssa Trivett
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Sky and Water
Water and sky indecisive,
light flitting around corners,
thunder mumbling curses,
a low energy kind of day
I recall a day exactly
like this, so long ago,
when we walked between the drops
to the 10th Street Pool Hall
to lay our fortunes down
on the Steepleton tables,
greener than any pasture,
leather pockets yawning.
Entire lives were spent
and measured in racks of nine;
I still hear the clack
between the thunder claps.
In the end, we walked out the door
pockets empty, hearts full,
into the long shadows
of the waiting sullen universe.
Read the poetry of Mikels Skele
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from Selected Haiku
rain pelts the meadow
driving all the birds to nest--
trees' outstretched arms
adept at silence
sounds ring hollow in my ears
a shattered bell
gently flowing brook
the mistress of sudden storms
rampage with anger
life should be easy
effortless words in a song
yet it always ends.
Read the poetry of Thomas Canull
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Beyond the Milkweed
It was her birthday.
She was only five
the dawn we went out
to look at roses
in Grandma's garden
while everyone else
She loved them all
but stooped the way
little girls do
and pointed to
wings of a Monarch
on the ground
splayed by death
fresh with dew
just last Spring
to lay their eggs.
She asked if
it would fly away
and I said no.
lay their eggs
and then sleep.
she and I
must be careful
not to make a sound
as we tip-toe
over there to the roses
beyond the milkweed
just last Spring
just for her.
Read the poetry of Donal Mahoney
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roofless cubes, spidery with wire
cakes of azure and enzian;
above at the Villa San Michele
Rilke smiles down at the broken beaches,
at coves of defiant waves, compacted sea
a chessboard of honest stones
open to a sky of hushed shouts;
we huddle in a boned frame
of another life, a stopped day
warm and secret, olive-eyed,
an infinite beauty makes a new face
as the gaze ape-like from our bus;
an act of moment
Read the poetry of Leslie Philibert
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Under a Bushel ☊
I don’t want to lie still under
this rock, like a pool
of stagnant water where larvae culminate
I would like to be laughing at the birds
in flight, a minister to their bird-needs.
I would like to take off this thick sweater,
cover my limbs with sand and wait
for the tide.
I don’t want the lost love of the past to stop me
out of fear from plunging into
a faith-induced joy, stop me from painting my skin
with visions that swim full-force in my brain.
I don’t want to be the child chained to the park bench,
hearing voices no one else takes seriously.
I won’t be swung from this dead vine,
hollow as the fear I abhor.
I will be a fountain, running, contained,
self-sufficient, a fountain
that children make wishes in and animals find drink.
I will be acceptable as I am,
to look at.
Enjoy this poem in the PoetryAloud area
Read the poetry of Allison Grayhurst
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Visions in June
Each time I round the bend
on this forest path down to the river,
I am tricked by a mountain laurel
in full bloom on the far bank.
From this high angle, its soft, pink blossoms
peek out the dense foliage
in the shape of a girl
poised to dive into the cold water.
Thoughts of trout and hand-tied flies dissolve.
Suddenly, I am a simple village boy
sneaking along River Akheloos in Thessaly
with a man's spear and dreaming
the glory of the hunt, when a nymph glides out
the river, her body gleaming; her arms
gather me to her, my lips tremble….
With the next step, perspective alters,
the vision evaporates. I am again
wearing waders, fishing vest, holding a fly rod.
When I come to the bank across
from that flowering bush, I wade
through the water, take her hand in mine,
and kiss the flesh of that delicate petal.
Read the poetry of Gary Metras
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Confined to my cell
in the dark prison
of my heart,
I endured for lifetimes,
each day an anguish
unrelieved by hope
by daily beatings.
I could not escape
that banished my soul,
devoured my dreams.
Then my daughter was born.
In the bright discovery
of an unblemished life
I was regenerated,
in a flood of feelings
that melted the bars
that kept me in isolation.
Love entered my heart,
demanding an end
to bitter exile.
Read the poetry of Gary Beck
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The Return of the Magi
My mind is missing
a vital part –
a tiny pendulum cog
like those that switch back and forth
inside old pocket watches
balanced with a chip of diamond
and necessary to basic function.
Without it, I don’t see
the need for polite conversation;
my smile has developed a mechanical hitch
which stalls it halfway.
I have given up on epiphany,
on cognition –
afraid that any thought
would lead me to retrace my steps,
go over the same ground,
rearrange the syntax of a single sentence
in the hopes it might say something
other than: Your journey has been nothing
more than wasted effort.
Maybe this is preferable to the discovery
that my fallen star is crowned with thorns.
Read the poetry of Kerry O'Connor
Read a profile of Kerry O'Connor
certain acts of magic
i saw the back of a bird today.
Not the whole bird, that would be a confession.
But the glimpse of his hind quarters, his left foot
the one he plants on the headstones of civil war soldiers.
Then I thought, this is a sort of magic,
the way flying compels us; how the jazz of it
kickstarts our reasoning. How
Whitman and Miles Davis were somehow
complicit in our planetary woes. How
wanting to dance, and then dancing is how
we choose the half seen. That's why I don't
discard my old databases, My IBM, my COMPACT,
my E Machines, my Acer. They clog my attic with their
old songs, their old dangerous rhythms. I still have a
SONY tv bought brand new in '87
and with the converter box it still shows
a lovely picture. But it weighs 100 pounds
and is too heavy to carry to the curb for
bulk pickup. So along with multiple, wired
mouses and old keyboards with sticky keys
it too sits among the others. Sometimes we keep
things because losing them is too painful to discard.
Others we lose because keeping them
is too painful to hold onto. Like broken
snowblowers. Joel Osteen. Love. And all
the saved photographs you took while in it
knee deep. Then you slam the cover of the album
shut which gives mortality to the entire bird.
Then you close the attic door.
Read the poetry of Dana Rushin
Read a profile of Dana Rushin
The Moon Is in the
River of Heaven
~After Mei Yao Chen
I hear my wife cough.
She has coughed for months.
She refuses her breakfast.
She eats weak soup at lunch.
Her face is thin as paper.
Her arms are like chicken bones.
At night, she tries to muffle
her terrifying groans.
She was once young.
In a bag of wrinkled skin,
I look for the beautiful girl
I married long ago.
Winter is coming.
I watch a squirrel gather
nuts from a pine tree.
I feel too empty for grief.
I despair for my wife,
But my sorrow is also for me.
~After Ou Yang Hsiu
Crows pick at rotting bones.
Skeletons stare eyelessly
at the desolate sky,
searching the distant stars,
where dreams reside.
But they see nothing,
through the endless hours.
In the frozen air, the crows
scatter like leaves,
seeking a place to hide.
Leaves fall everywhere.
The stars look down,
but not in prayer.
Life is uncertain,
those stars tell me,
and it is always unfair.
Read the poetry of George Freek
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Chaos at Tranquility Base
A dream, it was, lying softly reposed
In teddy-bear comfort
'til your cry erupted
Like a serpentine quake-wave
A boiling out vocal thundercloud
That shattered my frail dream shapes
So that my sleep fell away
Like torn crystal shards
Heavy lidded eyes strain to focus
As irises widen and
Mission control fumbles
With its unwilling appendages
No rest. A new wave hurls boot-heavy feet
To slog through sand-dust
Making slop-flop noises as I
Rush to calm the epicenter
This base, Tranquility, you and I
We build from conquered years
But new landings disturbed the dust
Of Tranquility’s sea and swirled in our eyes
Blind fingers search the form
Finding feet and head transposed
Softly raise to my shoulder, sobbing eyes
Tangled blanket, thickly wet, an un-tranquil sea
So small is this, maker of storms
That cradles to my chest.
Your step lands mixing moon dust
With bottle warmed for my charge.
A landscape re-shaped by storm and quake-wave
Like Spring-Earth's garden
We stand renewed
As Tranquility welcomes the dawn.
The Place Where The
Stars Are Buried
I’m on my way to the place
where the stars are buried
under a roof of rain.
I won’t get lost.
I’m following the silver snail
trails and the muddy pools
with the little shimmers of spangles.
When I get there - to the place
where the stars are buried.
I shall dig a little, dig
just enough to let
a glimmer of light out.
Just enough to let
the love sparkle and
sizzle in the light
before it burns.
After the End
The sideboard was full of magazines.
Not whole magazines but
pages torn from them.
Pages of recipes.
Meals never eaten.
Exotic desserts never attempted.
Guest never invited or entertained.
At least the furniture had been used,
had had many years of use.
The clothes had been worn,
the pictures admired and enjoyed.
But the recipes were the saddest thing.
So many of them
for so many people
who never came.
Read the poetry of Lynn White
Read a profile of Lynn White
Let’s talk it out, I said, and we went on talking
until the words became honey
dripping down a face being murdered by bees.
And from there we rolled
down a bloodstained road,
entwined in each other’s forgetting.
Day after day we rolled and rolled
until we went over the edge.
We married and bore children to divert our attention
until the days ran dry.
And now no one remembers the stones we swallowed,
or the times we collided in the graveyard of shadows
hanging from the trees.
Kneeling over the water I reflected on my own reflection,
but unlike Narcissus I did not fall in love with myself,
but asked how and why I’d made it this far with so little
understanding. And when I rose to my feet knowing that
eventually I would be hungry again and want to maintain
a roof over my head, I realized there would be certain things
I’d have to keep doing and continue to say to those of my kind.
And so I went on my way with a little perspective of how it
would be for the rest of my days...
Read the poetry of Jeffrey Zable
Read a profile of Jefferey Zable
I breathed-in the lines of your face,
Left drops of who you were on the arm of the chair,
wrapped my fingers around unspoken, hushed,
I stared down your scars—your hollow eyes,
guilty that they made me squirm.
Small round math lines /tunnels, knives.
I know blood was pushed in a mad dash.
They spun your stuff around tricking it into clean.
But nothing was new on you.
Soon you would be all that's left of nothing.
Short hair in spiked-up gray,
snipped slick down at the sides
so you could be less sick in a smaller space.
You swallowed up those voiceless screams--
brave rock-climber folded into last year's size.
I was screaming for you
and you just wanted to live.
You asked for nail polish in deep blues--
velvet blues you called them.
You wanted to face the next stretch
of your journey with your nails
shaped into neat half moons.
You cupped your hands around the tea cup
sipping it like you had all the time in the world.
But you were already gone by then.
I was just borrowing you.
Read the poetry of Amy Soricelli
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While our space grabbed us
a luxuriating cabin
with solid walls and mosaic hexagon glasses,
you knew I was not there yet.
you knew I would have struggled for
someone who had done you injustice
or thought ever more need for crayons
that my jumpsuit wasn’t cool or storied
or something opened
my belief for fullness.
While the chances left...
you wished I could stop at the woodwork,
which reunited our dreams
of previous nights.
Read the poetry of Ann Huang
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In times of darkness I have tried
to keep my heart pristine;
to blur the lines of day and night
and live there, in between.
How many books do I neglect,
their pages still unturned,
insisting that I must protect
this numbness I have learned?
What music have I muted,
what colours have I dulled,
what tragedy eluded
and what ecstasy annulled?
In times of bleakness I have found
contentment in the dark;
for quiet leads to clearer sound,
and black to brighter spark.
Read the poetry of Marsailidh Groat
Read a profile of Marsailidh Groat
Walking down my way to hell,
my sins start flashing through my mind.
My innards are burning,
apocatastasis or eternal condemnation?
Sin will always take you further
than you had planned to go,
costing more than you had intended to pay,
keeping you longer than you had wanted to stay.
Where Do I Belong?
The future coming closer and closer
The already gone, swivelling repetitions
a dystopian reality, my mind falling from itself
into nowhere, into a black hole, into abyss
Hope, a sempiternal illusion
hot metal melting into nothingness
veritable census of the dead
where do I belong?
Existence slipping between parallel universes
a hundred shades of gray and snowflake obsidian
my desire for place always denied
between now and forever, I rappel down into oblivion
Read the poetry of Sofia Kioroglou
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A Slight Revision
"It’s a lot like what you're doing right now,"
I said to my roommate, the landscaper,
as I sat at the patio table in our backyard
one August afternoon before a family barbecue.
I was revising a poem about irony that day,
playing endless hours of eye ping-pong with each word.
Until finally, I hoisted the scribbled draft
to the sky like a sacrifice to the gods
crushed it within my hands
then hurled it onto the freshly-cut grass.
"I still don’t see the connection,"
my roommate shot back as he scooped
the paper ball from the ground.
He was surveying the yard
with an empty grocery store bag in one hand
and a garden trowel in the other,
looking for any unwanted gifts left
by his ferocious Shih Tzu he notoriously dubbed Bark Twain.
After a few more minutes of careful observation,
my roommate walked back to the deck with a high head,
unraveled my crinkly failure and began to study
my poem like he did with our yard.
"There's nothing wrong with it," he asserted as he read it over and over.
"Look again," I insisted, "because you missed something there!"
"Where?!" he demanded as he waved the paper in the air like a white flag.
I snatched my draft back from his grip and smiled, "It's under your shoe!"
Read the poetry of Cord Moreski
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An Old Shirt
An old blue shirt I have:
frayed collar, color faded
from midnight deep to Prussian tired;
here a greasy residue
where gravy fell; here
a tiny rip torn by
a nail; the button threads
beginning to fail, so I don't bother
unbuttoning--just pull it
down over my unpoetic gut.
It used to be a shirt for showing up,
but now it's best for staying away.
A shirt for undoing one's
particular demons, for
slouching over poetry or doing
the dishes. A kind of armor I wear
against attacks of hubris; now the light
of poetry glimmers upon it,
making it more than it is.
Before long she will tear it
into rags for dusting or washing the car,
or square it into blocks for a quilt,
or maybe it will shroud
the one unlucky cat
for its sepulcher.
Read the poetry of Will Reger
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The Tao of Zebras and Dessert
The Tao is dark and unfathomable.
How can it make her radiant?
Because she lets it.
~The Tao Te Ching
Capitulation of stripes, no two patterned alike,
brilliant canvas older than the world
as dark and light. A poem within
can shift the graph to balance
rhythm's blood. What changed you,
the doctor asked, pressure lower, sugar too.
I've moved myself, been moved,
the taiji heart's reply, in points and curves
like caramel through cream.
even a murder of crows
the fog blows in from nowhere.
Softer, more clear, like an infant
before it can smile, echoes original strings let fly
return from past and future to the palms.
Down to up, back to front, center axis snakes,
full pulse and slither, no two chords the same.
Breathing ground to sky forever woven, roots
and leaves, even the wind can't flow without
someone to touch. We notice music
arrives. We sing the silence limbs can't hide.
Sweet sweet shiver of air and rain washes
the heart awake. Apple blossoms flare. A rabbit
nibbles spears so green its ears quiver fire.
Read the poetry of Janet Aalfs
Read a profile of Janet Aalfs
Beneath the thin sheer line of ice
Below the horizon
In the cold
Are waving ferns and bobbing greens
In the pond depths of my mind
It is winter
And the outside realms are cold and dry
Shifting low shadows that last not as long as summertime
But the currents beneath the mirrored sheet
Are strong and moving
Hiding secrets that only emerge
When warmth arrives
Are you my thaw?
Are you the hot breath that blows on my surface?
Your pursed mouth exhales with hope
Longingly eyeing my depths
Hoping for a glimpse of my soul
The silt at my bottom.
The rocks that hold my secrets.
Are you wanting to sink into me?
Lower yourself and allow my twigs and branches green
To brush against you
Feel beneath you and around your slick skin?
Are you brave enough to walk across my thin shell
And hear the crack as the ice breaks?
Will you raise your hands above your head
To all that is within me?
Read the poetry of Ellen Conserva
Read a profile of Ellen Conserva
Take an airport parking slip,
mix with boarding pass,
sprinkle with train ticket
add hotel room key,
stir in phone messages,
simmer with postcards.
Take scrap talismans
and inhale deeply.
Now say London.
Repeat until ephemera reshapes,
turns into a paper airplane
big enough to lift you
over the sea.
English Pastoral ☊
the cottage doors
open to the garden
where wood pigeons coo
& distant laughter drifts
over the garden wall
I sit at the end of a long table
paper rustling in the breeze
watch a butterfly flutter in
float over the forget-me-nots
time stops, freeze idyllic
electric blue sky tufted
with motionless cotton wool
the city in my head goes mute
as I succumb to countryside
content with birds & breeze
Enjoy this poem in the PoetryAloud area
Read the poetry of Collin Kelley
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My eyes telegramming
My heart STOP
My mouth tasting
Ears cradling wave upon wave
of air breaking on
of tiny bone
Looking down into hands
which I no longer possess
I somehow morning-catch
the letter carried by moths from
that is my pocket,
And bend my knees
closer to the
to be my bed.
I try to make out vitality
into the green of the grass
but light leaches from the booming sky,
Rendering colour to spirit shades.
I collapse into
The smallest shape possible
Like a broken heart.
My heart -An Anemone in a tidal rock pool,
Somehow I must read your words.
And there it is
A glow worm
In the tarry night
Hanging onto the blade of grass before me-
One of many across
the dwindling horizon-
Changing the scene to a love story,
Stars for the Fallen,
Twinkling like childhood past,
a rabbit tunnel
back to Hope.
My hands become my own
again and softly I grasp
I hold it up gently between
Forefinger and thumb
Revealing words from you-
Crawling to rescue mine
in these last minutes,
lit by glow worm light,
Luciferin and Luciferase...
In this stage of the life cycle
The glow worm
Exists only to consummate
It cannot eat and will
Die after a few days.
The light flickers in the cavern
Of my hands.
Around me -a furred halo.
Read the poetry of Rushika Wick
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Old Horse Barn
Twenty-six daily mucked stalls
for a bevy of broken down thoroughbreds
still hoping for the dreams their thin legs rest on.
A water trough, a feed box,
old hoses that crack in winter,
harbinger of flies in summer,
clouds of DDT.
A teen ripped from my city
neighborhood, home, friends, school
by my gambling father.
Isolated now, listening to Hambone,
an older black farmhand,
stroking one of his thirty-nine cats,
stroking my pain.
He urged me not to run away.
Read the poetry of vern Fein
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