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I enter the hall, find a red-upholstered
seat and flip its bottom down.
With a hand on either armrest
I lower myself to the cushion
then rise almost immediately
to let a couple file past.
Their eyes are seeking numbers
on small brass plaques.
Her hand is on his shoulder
but it isn’t like that. By what
token do I know they are
fearless? As if through
a copse he leads, holding
the tickets in front of him.
When the darkness falls that
falls equally for everyone
they will light the way.

How the Air Never Seems to Stop Anything

I heard the south tower fall. It wasn’t one of those things
you hear inside first. My back was turned.
I’d been listening to rumors on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Some days, the Bridge itself is a rumor.
With one hand held to my face against the smell
and what the smell contained I kept thinking
of upside down bicycles. The sound passed over–
head like a letter in which too few words are
doing too much work. You’d like to reach back
to the writer with a calm hand, smooth a forelock.
You’d have to be crazy to try pedaling even one.

Paternity Test

You hold the ugly baby in your arms.
You say there, there, and mean it.
There is an old man in the baby’s eyes
but what can you do about that?
There’s a park in the baby’s eyes
but the old man can’t get
there, he’s not even trying.
As if he were an ember
he’s only fanning himself
with yesterday’s news.

Dore Kiesselbach studied creative writing at Oberlin College and the University of Iowa. His first collection, Salt Pier (Pittsburgh, 2012), won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. Other honors include Britain's Bridport Prize in poetry and the Poetry Society of America's 2014 Robert H. Winner Memorial Award. His work has appeared in Agni, Antioch Review, Poetry, Field and other magazines. He lives in Minneapolis.

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