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The arcane fog erases my object

permanence, strands me treading

soup among yew trees and dead

birds and red lights. Powerlines

tic-tac-toe overhead, society’s

exoskeleton, the web pinning

Gulliver to the sulfurous beach.

A flock of semitrucks carting

prefab houses slices the liminality

and is swallowed up like the guards

at Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace. I wish

coyotes would murmur but the fog

leaves a bereft wet muteness while

mildew creeps into every polyester

seam. So I strip like Lear, cradle

my knees in a sad knot atop the

double yellow border. Let us

welcome Lent, renounce our

ontology, share the rusty razor

in my jacket’s heart pocket and

scrape off our stubble. There is a

time to be reborn. I wish I could cry

and be comforted like a lifelike doll,

but I’ll settle for the condensation

nesting in my cavernous teeth.

Brendan Rowland, studying modern literature, lives in Westford, Massachusetts, several lots down from Edgar Allan Poe’s brief residence. While writing, he sports black denim, cream-colored cat hair, and Sennheiser headphones blasting rock ‘n’ roll. He will begin a master’s at the University of Glasgow in Fall 2023.

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