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M. Stone

First Loves


First Loves

He thinks he’s back in Tennessee
at the homestead we sold to pay for his care.
Used to be I corrected him
but now I let his mind steep in the past.

I fix him biscuits and gravy for breakfast
and smile as he describes the way
late morning sun chases fog from the hills.

I hold that smile when he calls me
by a name I don’t recognize, his eyes
full of fondness I never knew.

When I find him in the yard at midnight,
naked as a newborn, he says
Is that you, Rebecca?

and the lie is easy on my lips:
Yes sweetheart, now come inside.

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Now that the evening is tarnished silver,
you cradle your jaw and let the warm palm
compress soothe an abscessed tooth.

Sitting on the back steps, legs spread
in a stained housedress, you relish
the day’s work done, the canned tomatoes
that will not go to waste.

A coyote yips in the hills and a breeze
licks your temple, laps your damp armpits

and you wonder what Eve ate in the garden
until she chose to gorge herself on knowledge.

You too have feasted on knowing and found it
wanting as hollow soup bones, the marrow
stolen long before it reached your bowl.

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M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes poetry and fiction while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in San Pedro River Review, Star 82 Review, UCity Review, and numerous other journals. Her micro-chapbook Evolving God will be published by Ghost City Press in June 2018.

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