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by leah neiboer




say we were smoking something in the kitchen windows closed

table between us not thinking of repercussions. say an accelerant say you closed


the space. full up nowhere to go now we’re talking what’s right here


hiding in you. right thumb catching my left clavicle.



what’s hiding is hiding left thumb right clavicle.





now just hold on hold your breath count to three.

say a composition that aligns itself around mystery is likely

to succeed. you agreed loosened your grip took a slow drag with me

keeping it in a long while letting it go for obvious reasons

doubly curved.



say the smoke fills the room my throat your hands. an uptick

of hours slide past in the haze its slow maceration its softening

its separation of

memory’s architecture what it loved. the vaulted ceiling

wide open rooms slick floor velvet sofa each corner.

how its scaffolding was ambitious of.

a future can be cleared out teased apart evenly divided.



say instead I draw a bath.

say you can have whatever you want. a permanent lightness a utility a

luxury we slide hotly into. we are soothed by the tamarind and mint.

we are turning us over in our palms honey I swear we are opulent.

inside what’s inside. not clutching anything. our cells commingling

on the surface not pushed up against a concrete wall ourselves

not a wall not hurricane ready. it lasts and lasts.



love being a tide being a pendular insanity a race to absolute

zero. the means of measurement are laughable. I’m serious are you

going out are you leaving. give me a break a good hard look

grazes my cheekbone like a comet like a warning shot.

is that a dare. a deformation of the tides. the potential of

the geoid folding. who’s first to call a limit to give

an ultimatum are you leaving.

Leah Nieboer grew up in Iowa. She is a PhD candidate in English and Literary Arts at the University of Denver, an editorial assistant for Denver Quarterly, a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, and the recipient of a Virginia Center for Creative Arts Fellowship. 

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