Heather June Gibbons from Sore Songs


In a quick smear before full focus, the eye

misreads what it wants to see, whole cities

hopefully elided, words reversed, double-

negatives parsed and reparsed ‘til they thrum

taut as piano wire. So too the ear hears what it needs

or what it fears, and every letter turns love letter,

whether scrawled in sidewalk chalk or blinking

pixels on an reader board gone berserk, please

help, hungry in Sharpie on cardboard or a slick

promo subject line, It’s not too late! or this safety

orange classic flipped in haste: sorry, we’re closed.

So I try to read you, listening so hard my eyes cross,

but in your honeyed mumble everything sounds like

please come for me, or don’t comfort me.

The line crackles, consonants lost in wind and miles

of wireless wires. I’m sorry, did you mean to say mistake?

I could have sworn I heard my name.

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