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Lost Nickels At the measly age of four, I watch my father change the sheets. Strip the bed as if he's paper-shredding flowers. We'd learn to do the same with death. Teach it to disappear like nickels that never come back. Corners are tight, cases are pressed by the steam of a hired maid. I wonder if she forgot this job -- or rightly assumed this ghost was a Cyclops he'd have to address at blood-letting forks on orphaned roads. Your body is under the earth with worms that will surface after a vaporous rain. He knows you won't. No quarters, no bounce. Just acres and acres alone. The mattress has holes from cigarettes he quickly hides with rustling leaves, his sweat-drenched palms now carapace. The burn will stay an iron secret -- stay a bridge we will not cross. I grab a pillow from his hands, catch fading whiffs of sweet Chanel. The bottle was empty -- I stole it from your vanity to keep your scent. Wrapped it in my leotards, hid it in a bottom drawer, not sure if its cap were Byzantine gold or junk mail from an angry god. Snakes of black limos are gone -- long before I'm old enough to take a foot, kick a tire.
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