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Jackie Delaney

Virgo season

End of summer sunflowers, chopped off heads rolling in the yard for the squirrels.

Seeds shelled open between teeth, a small pile in the grass next to me.

The one day we laid out on the trampoline with no sunscreen on. Bodies pink.

There are new kids in the neighborhood now. The hose stretched out into the yard.

Houses sold, pools filled in, trees split. One summer, head lice. One summer, fire.

Plastic sticking to the back of thighs. The metal watering can knocking against shins.

Planting geraniums and the dog pulling them out. Peeing in a bathing suit under the pine trees.

I stand for a photo next to the sunflowers to show how tall they are. My birthday is soon.

There’s always the throat. Or a new apartment, or a new city. This year,

Molly’s old clawfoot bathtub. A pink party hat, and Michael in it, and

the diabetic cat who loves him. Fire escape tomatoes, and hanging out halfway

to smell the heavy air. This one and every year, a little wiser. Wilder.

The waiting room purple

The grief on everything, unstable. Margarita in a can and feeling sorry into your salad. We pass a dead bird and I tell you not to look down. Everyone all the time now: we don’t know what the future hums. All we can do is wane. On the sidewalk, two teenagers lift a butterfly with a broken wing. Walking back from your place I see it flickering still on the cemetery fence, the right wing halved. Looking for signs in every kind of living. Think back to October: estrogen, the small piece of copper, and then the rain, sideways, as we ran home from the bar, the men moving like planets around us. You have been to Florida and back. Out on the patio, your gloved hands are reaching for every small green weed, your bare back against the sun.


Jackie Delaney is a writer and editor based in Massachusetts. Her work has been published in Dream Pop, Deluge, and Audeamus.


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