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The worst part
is how my thumb
could erase her

body but not
the nausea draining
her body down

to a dull hum,
her skin against
bone: the scaffolding

not around her heart
but the movement
of her heart wrapped

in a cocoon, the way
she emerges weeks
later, covered

in butterfly wings
folding and folding
in the kerosene sky,

finally refusing
the kiss, the spark,
the mere possibility

love could move
next door, never cut
the grass, not make

a big deal
when she lets her hair
down, I want her

to tell me I should leave,
tell me loneliness
is a compass needle,

a pencil tip, that
she is just a sketch
I trace with my thumb.


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Eric Kocher lives in Houston, TX where he is--any day now--going to finish his MFA. He has work forthcoming in Boston Review, DIAGRAM, Catch Up, The Offending Adam, Octopus, and Toad. Starting in June, he will be the writer-in-residence for Hub-Bub in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

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