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sounded like houndsteeth / crashing into one another on rain- coats / eclectic as the sound of rain- water / in Costa Rica: pst pst pst pst / or in Texas: yes. The scent of shaving cream, the scent of unwashed teeth, and I felt so / I felt so / so lightly full of openings / so much / stiffness jostling like locks / between train cars. Not like these borders / we / wish to beseech. You turned to me and said, I can’t put my finger / on it but I might as well / stick a thumbtack in that map / and, cloud, / string you along through every vapor. This is how I know the rain / in Panama: says tsk tsk tsk tsk / and in Jamaica, reminded / me of lit transparent / plastic / parkas we pulled from the first / aid kit when the sky / poured like a lift of / tropical birds. The car was rented. Or we didn’t have a car / we rode / the one-eyed mammal. The bus / sauntered lazily as a dew bead, he looked, he looked at us. He percussed / the books of his reflections for two / creatures tall & not quite / lean enough to eat / into like the rock- sands of Greece that pill into our skins the shape / of shadows behind cat hairs, and I do not / write about you for you / are not washed out.

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Shayla Lawson is a professional educator, amateur acrobat, and a member of the Affrilachian Poets. Her work has appeared in The Journal,, Colorado Review, Winter Tangerine Review, and MiPOesias. She is nonfiction editor of Indiana Review and the 2013 inaugural winner of Sou’Wester’s Robbins Award in Poetry. Her work is supported by fellowships provided through the Kentucky Foundation for Women, Indiana University, the Giorgio Cini Foundation, and Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, where she serves as creative writing chair.

Feature image by Louise Nevelson. Dawn’s Presence. Wood and white paint. 116 x 67 x 31 in. Courtesy of the Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin.

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