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by cheryl clark vermeulen


When Rauschenberg asked de Kooning for one of his paintings to erase, de Kooning said, “I want it to be something I’ll miss.”



When extraction is dressed up in yours truly, expansion,

one by one (bear with me) little envelopes of twisted muscles


flew out of my body and I watched

their gesticulations autographing the air.


You are strangers my lips move, I said, a sentinel

tracing the signatures


absorbing them. I made difficult—pretty routine.


Near a meadow, there’s a sign: Do Not Mow.

A meadow makes room for butterflies.


Tell me the difference between field and meadow.

Emergency and its antonym.


You could have fainted, my love later said.


You are strangers my lips move, I said again and again—

words, hundreds, more. Later at the market


a woman was selling honey. She pointed to herself

in a beekeeper suit. That’s me, she said.


Why should I believe her? And who was she there?

Cheryl Clark Vermeulen, a Midwesterner at heart, has lived in Massachusetts since 1998. Her chapbooks include This Paper Lantern (Dancing Girl Press) and Dead-Eye Spring (Cy Gist Press). She earned an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop after working in non-profit organizations. She is an Assistant Professor in Liberal Arts at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Poetry Editor at Pangyrus, and mother of twin boys.

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