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fork into the cow’s flank, then

broke like a rotten nut. The cow heard

you; the gap between hearing and listening is less

than that between languages, like an aunt’s

face afraid of blown paper. There are reasons

you are alone. I reach

past the mud as a butcher would with

one hand to cup your heart, and I

wash wash it wash it until

there’s nowhere left to send the white envelope of you.


Michelle Matthees’ poems can be found in Memorious, PANK, The Baltimore Review, The Superstition Review, and elsewhere. In 2016, New Rivers Press published her first collection of poems, Flucht, a book about immigration, Eastern Europe, and adoption. She is currently at work on a new collection of poems about institutionalization. A graduate of the University of Minnesota’s MFA Program, she lives in Duluth, Minnesota

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