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Camille Rankine

Symptoms of Island

Sometimes in the morning your hand
finds the dip in my side.  For the moment

we’ll call it happiness.  This does not
account for weeks spent cursing

the apple trees, their sticky bloom.
The man on the bus gaping

at my slack lip knew.  Plump dumb
stone in my mouth.  I’m sure of it.

That afternoon you were a brisk,
starched thing.  We slipped out

the back way, screen door banging
cruel on my slim-boned grim.  Today,

like most days, my mind arrives
an island, tongue-numb, child wishes

ivied onto me.  God takes away,
it’s said.  Call it what you will.

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Camille Rankine is the author of Slow Dance with Trip Wire, selected by Cornelius Eady for the Poetry Society of America’s 2010 New York Chapbook Fellowship. The recipient of a 2010 “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize, she is featured as an emerging poet in the fall 2010 issue of American Poet. Her poetry has appeared in American Poet, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM and POOL: A Journal of Poetry. She is Program and Communications Coordinator at Cave Canem Foundation and lives in New York City.