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Susan Yount

The Oracle

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I have read your cards
today, you beautiful,
moonstruck moth—
stay away from the light.
Later tonight,
when you take that hit,
ask yourself, why do I want it?
Why be depressed all the time?
You will find there is no
good reason and trip
into the hotel hot tub.
Stop drinking.
Stop writing
about your father.

the folding house is
folding faster. Of course,
every time you take a hit,
it changes you. Next time,
you might not be as beautiful.
Next time, you might not
come back. Be grateful
with your life. For I have
seen you die at the Flaming Lips
concert. I have seen you
come back again. I have
seen you naked and noted
your tattoo. I have not seen

your cyst but I have been
your chiropractor,
your gallbladder.
Your antihistamine
just so you can breathe.

Focus now—
remember the house
where you practiced
your death. Shadows
of apple trees in the back—
The folding house
folding you. The place
you practiced your
life, sleep. I have seen
the band-aid on your pinky
shredding zucchini in 2009.

Be careful
where you are now.
You could be drinking beer
at your computer. The paintings
your baby made—melting.
You could be Elizabeth Bishop
burning in a house.
You could be ghost fish
and you were already dead

at the Indigo Girls concert in 1995.
Everyone thought you were a saint.
Wear your hair in pigtails again
and they will cry at your feet.
You die several times—

your solo car wreck.
This time. You change
listening to the immunization
officer. He will let you register
as long as you only take
one class. Often. There is life
outside tetanus shots.
Life outside the fold.
Next time—

You are drunk.

And that helps.
You are folding now;
close now.
You are barely alive.
You are just a dollar

away from that Indigo Girls song
so that you can remember—
the folding house, the balcony.

Life below you.
The stories of you
falling. Headed
out a window.
Your pinky infected
at 9:49pm. This is 2009.
You haven't asked to see
the future—

you remember it.
Fugitive. Hammer.
Nail. Just another hit.
They won't stop
coming and crying.

The Girl in My Dreams

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I was furious when she emptied
the bottom drawer of my dresser
for her high heel shoes. I had
a headache and had taken
several ibuprofen that night.

We're virtually conditioned to ignore
the warnings. I threw her pretty
pink shoes at a corner of the room.

Our son woke at 4 AM with a fever.

The next day, she had my dresser
taken away by the authorities.
Few things in modern life are
more confusing than the disclaimers
that come with wonder drugs.

Our son woke at 4 AM asking for a bucket.

I was furious when she emptied
the medicine cabinet of my antacid
for her glittery nail polish. My hands
had fallen asleep and it seemed they'd
never wake. I was nervous about it.

We're virtually conditioned to ignore
ourselves. We never look into the medicine
cabinet mirror. We never see each other.

Our son dropped a glass of water at 4 AM.

The next day, she had my cabinet replaced
with shelves! With shelves dammit! Shelves!

Times Died, a Multiple Choice Questionnaire

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Her first time?
A. thrown from an orphan colt
B. thrown from a car
C. in her mind

How many times?
A. the times you've thrown up
B. her haircuts since turning 18
C. the number of glasses you've held

In the morning?

In the valley?

Was she sick?
A. she'll make it
B. she'll fake it
C. but what is your next question

How many years?
A. she was high
B. she was insane
C. she was brave

Hang up the phone.
A. she's at work
B. she's in bed
C. she's burning

Are you still out there? Are you out now?

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Are you still alive
and do you still want to kill me?

Come find me and I'll open a jar
of flies. Ignore me vampire butterflies

like bottle rockets over the pole barn.
Come find me you gnat you dead leg

half rot lung acid trip. Grip me my
money shot gun shot leg meat hole

man rubbed out man. Polaroids burned all
but one saved the one of the two of us in prison.

You fuck,
you come kill us now.

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