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Jennifer Dannenberg – (dannenberg)

Jennifer Dannenberg

                                                                                i.
Count lies you told, lies you didn’t tell. Happy days on one hand. Shadows in the corners of her
eyes visible through glass. Ancient faces in rocks. Number of times lately your heart has felt
riotous. Number of steps in a mile times three times three times fifty-two times twenty-three equals
number of times your life was saved.

Count back by fifties to a fantasy that might now be coming true the way light from a star traveling
for forty-one years appears and is gone. Count starlight.



                                                                                ii.
Count minutes til showtime. Number of times movies start on time and someone sits in front of me
blocking my view. Movies about torture. Count how many times I cringe, an act of violence
committed to stop an act of violence.

Count number of hoots back and forth in trees outlined black on a yellow sky. Count trees. Count
trees with owls. Great horned owls. The number of times the owl rotates its head with yellow eyes.
Amnesty International cards saying we know you are alive.



                                                                                iii.
Arrange them carefully though we are here only two days, socks in the top drawer, shirts one
drawer down, shoes lined up in a row parallel to the bottom drawer that sticks as we open it. Desire
to be here longer, damp little room by the sea.



                                                                                iv.
Hundreds of people are out to get him.

No one is out to get him as he sits by the tracks in the blur of a train gone by.

Hundreds of yellow-bellied birds in the sky because of his tramping and the dog’s trotting.
Evening’s articulate beauty.



                                                                                v.
She’d take it again, maybe indefinitely, was it one or a half? She doesn’t remember someone named
Ashley whose father she should have known. I say, down in the dumps.

                                                                                vi.
All the little birds are coming round, they perch on cactus branches as the wind kicks up, blown to
juniper where they poke for food. All of a mind the doves scatter and flutter off.

The mountains are warm in afternoon light.



                                                                                vii.
In the place I learned to name things they say down in the dumps, nervous breakdown, dark places
you dare not go take a toll what with the yellow on black untelescoped eye. Adding and
subtracting grammars. What year was she then, in the middle or the end, and the hospital stay of
undetermined length. We met her train, two girls smoking on a platform, and now you’re gone.

I intend another life without wanting to.

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