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I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

First, it was the small things: Piled kicked-

off shoes in the street. A crusted thumb perched

curbside like a coin dropped on edge.

Racked portraits on poles, mimicking

saints day processions. The birds

fell off the roof, the children said,

the birds were on fire.

Always it’s the small things: A flight

of paper bellied on giants’ breaths,

flapping like bleached crows --

certificates of deposit paid in

dust. Ash trees turned ash.

Rasped breaths as of shears that

scissored the air.

Ever, it’s the small things: dull thuds like

orchards lashed by gusts; a gingham doll

sprawled smiling, stiff with grime;

a stench that closed down nostrils and

clamped minds: after -- after the avalanche, its

boiling ten-league leaps, roar

muffling as earth.

Please let it be small things,

the shadows not the source.

For they are our sidelong glance

that sees by not seeing:

our chimneys, our moldering camps,

our warehouses of plaited hair

our metaphor

The Federal Poet, Vol. LXXII No.1 (Spring 2014)

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