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by Karyna McGlynn

The acetone sun
bicycled beneath the short warm earth
as we crawled inside a stranger's house

for water. Fish from other time zones
swam in the woozy Permian landscape
of intricate coral latticework.

We passed the dark thump of
a strip club's day patrons,

and you, the campaigner, sprinted around
pleading property tax and teacher's pay,
and to me, the benefits of this dirt
that cannot be touched: diatomaceous earth
and its tiny animal exoskeletons like
unexpected pieces of glass.

We trooped between 45th and Anderson,
then under the new highway
which was fast and thick there, hovering
in the fume layer of October.

At the headquarters' cardboard center
where placards looped doorknobs
awaiting the cinch of decision,
we heard paper hats crushing and
uncrushing themselves. We watched

the polls pouring in the Eastern windows.
and people were arguing about
quitting this business altogether—from
the possibilities of clean pine tables,
to the fire of conviction and the trill of kazoos—

when the sight of clapping skin
suddenly made you straighten to hear
the clop and haw of a donkey soaring
graceful as an Ibex over the highway
and on across the western sky.

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