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years I lived without ravens
without their reminders
to ignore cautions
just release my lungs
ease that nameless pining
that worries for answers
and forgets to fly with questions

once a teacher
gave me a book
with the lines,
“Make no mistake. Everything
in the mind is in rat’s country.
It doesn’t die…you will only find
bits and cry out
because they were yourself.”

but what of the bits
I never find
the animal places I’ll never live
the lines in books no one shows me

how will I live with only one life
and this gate-closing panic

Mary Strong Jackson


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