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Vismai Rao


Their bodies glowing amber


The quality of icebergs comes to mind: the tip and what awaits

Let’s be clear we each come with terms & conditions, jargon
packed to bursting into our subconscious.

Don’t be fooled by what seems a twinkle in the eye.  A solitary
dianthus bloom.

Pause a while, before you turn these door knobs to further

Unlike the stars of the sky, we were coached to spill all of our secrets, our
snowflake bodies:

Little portals to our souls. Our heavens made of fine print, we
are stairways straight to the source—

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Their bodies glowing amber

against the cream light, once again, frogs
have taken refuge in our lampshades—

I don’t trouble their basking
in this false sunshine, tropical June’s

been grey and tumultuous for weeks.
I’m kept busy by millipedes in need

of a little rescuing, slipping against
the perpendicular of our stone bathtub,

an abundance of legs weighing them
down. Like a benevolent God, I move

apple snails away from cycle paths
into the safety of vegetation—I haven’t

pondered the meaning of life in months,
as rain lilies bloom & wilt, & bloom.

My questions blink like fireflies—
I watch them float away into the night.

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Vismai Rao's poems appear in Salamander, RHINO, Rust + Moth, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Pithead Chapel, Psaltery & Lyre, Barren Magazine, Jet Fuel Review, & elsewhere. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the Orison Anthology. She serves as Poetry Editor for The Night Heron Barks. You can find her on twitter: @vismairao

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