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Michele Sharpe

Museum of Scenes

Museum of Scenes

Beneath a neighbor’s tree, my five-year-old teeth juice a second plum,
sweetness drowning tongue and gums. Don’t be greedy, someone says,
so I grab another and shape a memory of me: girl alone, under a fruiting tree.

My teenage boyfriend, the good one, sees my breasts for the first time
and says, You’re so understanding. My bed lies under a window looking
up at darkness, which I ache for. Arching my back, I offer night my heart and tongue.

My youngest cousin opens the crushed Marlboro box in his hand, so I can see
the pills his mother gave him: 2 for aches, 3 for rage, 4 for sleep. Want one?
he asks, having noticed me, middle aged, smudge wet tears into my crow’s feet.

A crow with white wingbars in a flock of normal ones gets left behind.
It waddles on the street, following an angry girl who’s bumming cigarettes
and money. Oh, my darling, I say to her, digging deep for my change.

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Michele Sharpe, a poet and essayist, is also a high school dropout, hepatitis C survivor, adoptee, and former trial attorney. She's written for The New York TimesWitness, The Washington Post, and Poets & Writers. Poems can be found in B O D Y, Poet Lore, North American Review, Stirring, and Baltimore Review. More at

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