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Kristin Emanuel

the amnesiac’s rhapsody

every time they met

he would wipe

her memories clean

with a palette knife

the next morning

she would wake

wondering whether


aromas and sensations

had even existed

mint julep

tulips and bitten lips

particular acoustics

a blues singer’s swollen lyric

a sculpt of shadow

a swig or a wing

these things

that she mistook

for dreams

he understood far better

having left each impression

like a love letter

a signature

the way artists

sometimes leave

textured paint

to dry on portraits

Just a Small Apocalypse

2 years ago, the world ended here.

That spring the prairie fire crab-

apple trees and winged spindles

were all fragrantly irradiated.

Visiting town, I no longer recognize

my friends or myself with them.

The heat is oppressive. We sit

by the street shouting over mufflers,

attempting to salvage something.

Ours was just a small apocalypse.

90% of all species, including trilobites,

perished during the Permian extinction.

Lizards dart from a thicket near

my old apartment. I take pains not

to step on them, noticing new

sidewalk cracks, fresh graffiti.

Inside the natural history museum,

my favorite mosasaur descends

from a skeletal mount. Her jaw is still

wide, her ribs still jutting, her spine