by deborah brandon

you said, 'watch it. i am the mountain,' so i aimed 'pause' at the VCR and believed. shook my legs, tangled your red silk to hold back the tremor. in the dream i did not kiss you, but in this story i do and it breaks

a seashell then fans out gold. back at the homestead is a worry doll box that contains my first tooth and five dusty dolls that are not going to last forever. i want to shred myself over the sharp turn of your thumb, a disaster

you agree i don't know anything and that spot in your throat whitens. there's a garage with green trim, i don't know what the main color is. inside's filled with dead deer and wooden spoons bigger than babies. behind dusty boxes in the dark, an oil stain under scuffing shoes, nobody has to wear a bra. i might be more like peter pan than i thought, and the sky outside looks like a technicolor postcard. wish you were here.

here, here, and here.

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started to wonder, had i really known you, ever? had i stood in the same room or sat near you on the train?  was i nervous about posturing, expression, the charmeuse's pull across my thigh?

i noted your absence in a room? i fed you rock candy knowing you hated it but would open your mouth anyway? i saved the labels from trees i planted, then left the blurry strips on your doorstep? bloom, height, canopy.

maybe i saw your name and had heard of you, maybe you were on the next train after me & couldn't even smell my cologne. could be i saw where you lived and wanted to keep up the good fight. 'oh yeah,' i wrote back, 'i wonder about you sometimes,' but i'd be hard-pressed to nail the octave in which i'd find your voice when it fell, and here's mine, here's a blister, there's your tongue.