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Dear Brother:

I too, have seen our sister make a rainbow with her mouth,
glass of tap water, noon sun. The halo of vapor around
her face was magic; the way a carpet burn leaves the same pink
scar as a house-fire flame.

Dear Sister:

Sing with me from your charnel mouth the paramedic’s song:
the excavation of the buried pulse, the way he presses his stethoscope
to your throat, the way he mistakes the Doppler’s echo
for a place to lay his head.

Dear Mother:

I too, have been called a magician. Watch how I wrap your birthday balloons in scotch tape, pull a needle from my boutonniere and pierce through. Watch how nothing happens, nothing pops. See how your breath is still in the balloons.

Dear Father:

I can count on one hand the barn swallows hung upside down from butcher’s string in the market. How they thrashed beautifully against the onrush of blood. How you mimicked the moth’s pale wing breaking the spider webs shape, shouting so small against the struggle.

Dear Sailor:

Repeat after me: the ocean floor was born to ascend, and meet you half-way. Tell me we can call the edge of sleep our shoreline, write our names in its sand, watch bird’s mistake your eyes for lakes, watch them crash and keep still. It seems now, the only way to hear your voice is to tie the stems of oak leaves in knots, float them from the pier, and listen to them sink.

Brandon Courtney spent four years in the United States Navy. His poetry is forthcoming or appears in Best New Poets 2009, Writers’ Bloc, and tinfoildresses. When not writing, he obsessively collects records from the early nineties. He is currently pursuing a BA in Writing from Drake University in Des Moines, IA, where he is finishing his manuscript titled, When the Ocean is an Autoclave.

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