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Provisional Fix
Mayzie Sattler 

Battenkill moves slow in October, though
in August your pulse surges over skipped stones and pine needles and wet leaves of paper birch
and falls on your pillowcase when you shudder and heave yourself to the foot of the bed.


The air thins in October, though
in August the molasses coats your windpipe and you swallow
a cow’s tongue with urgent rattles of solitary bone and teeth.


Battenkill bubbles past your kneecaps in August, though
the trout dances in place, mouth open in earnest the way
Joan sings in the cathedral on Wednesday, coal spilling onto lips stained with berry jam.


Clay clings to hair on the cattle dog’s paws in June, though
in the vein of your right arm it weighs heavy,
your outstretched hand reaches for the plastic bag.


Chapped lips are chewed raw in December, though
Battenkill soothes flushed lesions like invisible Absolut,
like oil paint, like cigarette filters betwixt scabbed knuckles.


Heavy air seeps through the screen door in August, though
in October it swarms the kitchen light with you and the fruit flies as
Sweat’s salted grip binds mossy hair to skin.

Your flushed trout lips greet Battenkill in June, though
the cold in November is sharp and does not eradicate the smack of

against your cheeks, swollen with sores between tooth.

Battenkill breathes slow in October, though
the most recent breath pried itself through clenched teeth
and crawled from your salty chin to the sink bowl
waltzing with hair clippings and clay.

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