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Michael Rogner


Sand in the barrens. Squeaking ovals of Appalachian
quartz. The memory reassembly is complete though four
screws and a nut lay ignored on the floor. Hurricanes
of laughter scattering oak debris. Armadillos
tucked into meadowlark eggs. Loblolly pines where
pines once held martins. My mother young and tan
and beautiful allowing a glimpse over her shoulder
while she works her lips before a mirror.
My mother with her long strong legs and yellow
tank insisting I eat the sweetest fruit. The sun.
The shelf cloud blockade. A hint of sulfur. Caracara
in the Johnson grass tearing at an old cornsnake.
My mother with dripping fingers whispering
into my good ear that I am not allowed to die
before her. My mother on a plane from Florida
to Oregon. A pizza place and dark beer. Turbid
skies. The long throws of sorrow
spiraling the wind. My mother
cradling me in chocolate. Holding me in heather.
A warm hand in the citrus. Christmas
tossed into the flames. Raised relief wallpaper
torn down and hauled to the dump. Gloom expelled
by light. A window to the kitchen. My mother in the recliner.
My mother old and ragged and stunning. I touch
her hand and she wakes. I was dreaming
she says. I was dreaming of tangerines.



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