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Chelsea Margaret Bodnar

Buzzards on the far end of the beach

Buzzards on the far end of the beach pick idly at some dead thing out of view; you gather wild raspberries, their blood all over your hands, their sweetness not ingested fast enough to blur the thing that hurts you. Still you've got to try. You hide in wild peppermint and snail shells, walks at night. Your feet illuminated by your phone so you can step around amphibians and insects, this attempted murder, blonde-capped mushrooms and cicadas still in armor lurch like automatons across the balding grass. Look. You'd have more things to care about if you'd just cut this out. You shoulder past anxiety to find that parties bore you, you don't like knowing anyone. You'll only tie them down and make them love your favorite things, then let them go with tantamount to nothing. You start a vicious cycle, patient zero, host. You wear things thin when you need them the most.

Some rich guy offs his mistress

Some rich guy offs his mistress and nobody knows the difference, her desk repurposed as a lost and found, her car a nest of catfish and decay. The headlights flicker to a stop at bottom of the lake. But still her ghost comes whispering around, smudge of vapor in the too-big house that causes you, the hapless trophy wife, to seek the truth. The little alibis you thought could never hurt. And things are so much harder than you’d dreamed of as a child, the bride with doves and flowers, incorrupt,

but nothing crawls to real life from a daydream nice and pretty;

murder one and blonde hair matted black with blood, and down the well his family went, like wishes, one by one.

Someone’s murdering me

Someone’s murdering me, you stage-whisper, come quick, you guys, and check; cheap motels, your dreamjob: dinner from vending machine, low-quality of sleep, luminol in constellation scattered on the sheets. The bruise a clutch of onyx at the throat. Ours are special victims, names and faces stricken from the record, long redaction of black pen never lifted from the paper. Footfalls. Double bed. The neighbors fighting restless through the wall, a thud, and silence. Tepid showers. No vacation. You can look at anything and not feel bad. You can look at anyone and think I bet they'll still get emails even when they're dead. Stuff doesn’t stop and stops and then it reruns, box of old photos, plastic cover under sheets. Blue tomorrows stretching out like shopping lists, to be the kind of person to cross days on calendars, to anticipate the lead-in, taking hints. Like magnet used to dig a bullet out. Like all this can't be stripped down, subatomic, nightmare world of spinning tiny things you feel no kinship with. Skin with personalities. Skin sliding across earth like dirty water.

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