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Brandon Rushton

My Neighbor Loves Eagles but is Self-Conscious in the Study of Bald Things

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A yellow light is a parking lot for inheritance.
Hear them: sirens rowing the river home

to some mother whose least favorite heritage is loss.

It is things like this that make me imagine
loneliness is a bookmark—the way a thumb breaks

a page of us into remembering where we left off.

Who says you're not in there, middle-aged monotony,
National Geographic spread across the coffee table—

a dishwasher is the echo of the way we lick our wounds.

Candle flame in the bathroom, pail of paint in the hallway.
Convince myself dark sky is a sheet we crawl under

to make love, that trash in the parking lot between us
is all the love letters we wrote to each other,

decided against, and then tore to pieces.


Between you and remembering myself
as a window—I have seen through

twenty years of candle painted wounds; we have aged

as couches do—both me and the monotony
of imagining a lover—whose hands are tied

around a concept of the head. Insecurity and inheritance

meet at an intersection, and I have dreams
of walking through a department store

and finding you a hat. Things look least favorite

from the road's view, I tell myself you are more
than a stoplight or a bathroom fan—

that a highway is just a hair I pull from my pillow case.

Besides the Rest, the Forest Shows Signs of Tuberculosis

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Here's to leaving the window open in winter.

Let them have it. The window.
The winter.

This is the sort of thing you try to tell me

fits in a glove box—everything
is a cheaper version of something else.

A woodstove leans its long neck

(coughs) up the morning.

Horizon tries to start a car and fails.

This has to be the way

moss diagnoses the rain.
It is like somebody

has not been here. Rake leaves from the breakfast

bar, can be a place for planting pines.

None of this is a love story
is what two forests call out
over a body of water.

Bergenia has forgotten. Let it.

Shy, is what we would have liked
to name a Wednesday

last night, you and the snow deepening
into the darkness—

disappearing farther across the surface

of the frozen lake.

My Sixteen Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Five Nights with Jerry Sandusky

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for Dottie Sandusky

This is the way a day ends—

mouth drinking from a showerhead,

ripe peaches in the garbage disposal.

There are beehives beneath my waistband.

What a waste

all afternoon was

full of sting and sweaty pollination.

A bird breathes heavy,
the ways of sleeping in the flower bed.

Beside the barn, an Oldsmobile
is on bricks, that bird builds a nest
inside the wheel well.

(This is what I saw

when I saw I thought

I was thinking about leaving.)

At night, I've begun to pretend
I wake, walk thorn-heeled
into the river—watch

a turtle snap at mayflies,

slick of a pike's back loosen

the knots I have tried to tie in water.

Another night— this time, I do not wake to the sound of drought—all this

dead grass dipped in sky.

I pull a robe, some slippers, passed midnight and I
repaint the walls the color of your flesh—
sometimes it feels like this—that I have lived
a lifetime inside you.

Summer has begun to taste like ceiling fan—
all the dust and no relief.

I've turned off the air conditioning, imagine
heat of the hallway as your breath.

It is fading, the voice you used
to tell me to open the window—

wren in the birdbath—splash

of nectarine on the carpet— dripping,

you love rain on the blinds, how it rolls from sill.

You have become these water stains
on the drywall.

Radio tells me I can save
on window treatments—it is the first time

I notice that I am dying

to tell you that I've never been very good at opening
up anything.

Clamp the window shut,

slip a note under the bedroom door to myself.

Just the itching of moonlight, how it tastes
like gravel in August.

But it is dark, even the river

has something worth running away from.

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