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>sour, profitless things
cat hair, drifting clumps of dog
when my lover wakes soft and unwashed
she tosses my cover to the floor

she partitions, in other words.

brushes her teeth, applies a mask
washes her face then anoints the map
like a slippery film, guaranteeing breath
when miles from the unmade mess she
strikes a flint and sparks the slick veneer

pain makes her proud.

it’s fine to walk to slivers
of yellow and pockets of red
to market, bank and cafe, never pointing
the bally of tourists on its way

“the snake oil,” whispers each wryly visitor
“tames her violet scarring;” now toils
she sniffs her way uptown
such thick lids and eyes quick to boil

“she gets around.”

and then, at night,
wish out the light and reapply her face,
place each piece beside each piece
precisely where each piece belongs

she partitions the pain that makes her proud
she gets around, for me she got around
stands up, looks up at her feet, the visitors
in this crowd help keep the scarring down.

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