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HELEN LEHNDORF

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So much white noise

 

I get a ‘friend request’ from someone I have not seen for fifteen years.

He says Hey, can we not do the fill-in-the-blanks part?

So much white noise. Can we just carry on where we left off?

 

Can we? Fifteen years is a great dirty puddle to jump

and how can you trust a man without a story?

 

*

 

People lack grace. They ask so much.

All the things I am not yet – they ask for.

Unexposed film, yeast still in the foil packet.

 

I lie on a rubber mat in a hall,

paying to relax, striving at it.

So does my best friend.

We’re at my best friend’s wits end.

I cast a thread down through this day

to the innermost of her inner ear.

I stroke the woolly shoulders of her outer wear.

 

*

 

Once I learned to say no

it took a long while to say yes again.

I sat still so long, I sprang roots.

When the earth gets a good suck,

she doesn’t let go easily.

 

*

 

That long-absent friend

he was a big man in a big house on a big farm.

I bet now he lives on a postage stamp. I bet his feet

hang off the end of his bed. The way the world

can shrink and shrink around you. I’ve seen it.

 

He would try hard, but his fire wasn’t fire, it was a mean streak.

He would serve fancy cakes on dainty plates

then ruin it by microwaving old tea like a batty nana.

 

I walk away.

I walk away

so fast and so far

I have to bend forward

and draw myself a new road.

 

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