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"There Is a Penny Under My Tongue" by Lindsey Heatherly

I cannot hold this muscle, this lashed-out grit

turned limp. It tastes of metal and Vienna sausages

straight from the can. Straight down the middle, the heart

of the matter, what matter? Hold your tongue for me,

like mine, and pinch the penny between your thumb and forefinger.

Spin it on the kitchen table between

the neighbor’s dog and my grandmother’s dead cat.

Heads, cut your losses. Tails, well, the sky is incapable of such

untruths. Does the violet sky lose when the sun dips underwater, taking

all light with it? I wonder if pennies absorb the light

they reflect. If they fish strings of it from boiling water

to toss at the refrigerator door, see what sticks. The sun hides

in my pocket while the violet sky wonders if it should have been a bird.

Or a fish. Something with wings, fins, some way to direct

the falling stars upwards, back into the sky, away

from the gravel crunching under my feet.


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