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Washing A Language
       -- for Kathryn Forte, on her birthday

Scrub the pitted roll-call
naming of parts
voiced in smoke and honey
or chattering wildly 
never enough never enough 

Bleach and soap and rinse
cold water to soak the stained
vowels  -- you cannot make crisp
linen from a polyester blend

and I call myself that
throw out your microscope
the unrepentant bacteria are everywhere
an amoebaed city teems
in the dictionary of your brain

midnight laundry
what hope is there then
for absolution?
Fold, stack
(goddamn the rinse cycle's
love of those adulterous detergents) 

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