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There’s no such thing as a free symphony


I mistook construction sounds for an up-
right bass busking hard in the yard next door.
My thoughts have been so wishful lately. Cups
bedside glint traces of the night before:
the brand of bourbon we both drink, the loose
leaf skullcap tea supposed to make me sleep
through nightmares of my mother’s brother’s noose,
that collar knot he learned in scouts. We reap
such risky skills from childhood, lemonade
stands each a mean lesson in free markets.
Uncle, the practical type, surely weighed
all options. Are those strings in the garden?
How much will they hold? Stools are tipping pins,
and throats strike like bows on cheap violins.


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Sonya Bilocerkowycz’s prose and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in Colorado Review, Partisan, NANO Fiction, and elsewhere, and her reporting on the Ukraine crisis has been cited by the Atlantic Council. She is an MFA candidate at Ohio State University.

Feature image, Scotch, Rocks I, 2008, by Julia Jacquette. Oil on canvas, 77 × 100 in. © Julia Jacquette.

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