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Shimmer

January 19, 2012

by Kathleen Hellen

Between interstices of sunlight through the cross
beams, the silent-stricken trees: a gallows for a swing
I was so young—

my Sunday shoes
my pretty dress really shadows leaning in
to see the algae silky green in the bucket made of tin
Mud and scum of damselflies
and Thee:
Bottom feeder

Arc of your forbearance bent so far, the shape enjoined
the question mark. Enjoined
the hammer

to the nail driven through
to forgiveness
if it was

forgiveness. We gambled we were gods
The rise and fall of rivers at our feet. Parting
these as seas, piercing flesh
stripping garments
of the skin. Pearls

tumbled. A sac of roe for our betrayal
A rosary of shimmer
Did I dream the barbels quivered?
Did I pull from air the wine in clusters? Eat
of this, one grape. Another


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Kathleen Hellen is the author of The Girl Who Loved Mothra (Finishing Line Press, 2010). Her work has appeared in Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, the Cortland Review, The Evansville Review and the Hollins Critic, among others, and on WYPR’s “The Signal.” Awards include the Washington Square Review, James Still and Thomas Merton poetry prizes. She is senior editor for The Baltimore Review.

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