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J.I. Kleinberg

The former tenants of Apartment 203

The former tenants of Apartment 203

He was my gun safe.
I was his kitchen.

He marked my lobby with his lips
and I smeared my mouth on his mailbox.

He peeled my window shades,
stroked my sash, stripped my hinges, declaring

“I need more light. Lust is in the light, baby.”

I fell upon his balustrade.
He twitched my balcony.

We bolstered from sideboard to sconce,
ottoman to étagère.

We jukeboxed our davenports,
redecorated our vestibules.

I nuzzled his cupboards, fluttered his armoire,
clenched his understairs.

And I whispered in his anteroom,
“You’re wrong, you know. It’s in the darkness.”

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A Pushcart nominee and winner of the 2016 Ken Warfel Fellowship, J.I. Kleinberg is co-editor of Noisy Water: Poetry from Whatcom County, Washington (Other Mind Press 2015). Her poetry has appeared recently in One, Diagram, Otoliths, Poetry Breakfast, and elsewhere. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, and blogs most days at and

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