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“All angels remind us that annihilation is part of the program.” – Ross Gay

When you fall, the air chokes 
the September night.
The gardener worked all day but at moonrise 
the vines return,
creeping up the gray fence,
and the phonograph needle sticks in the groove 
at the end of the album.
Later that night,
in one gasp I wake: howls of coyotes shiver rabbits in the canyon.
I remember the crack of bone,
that I am the reason.
In my dream the shadowy line on film
floats before me.
What can I do but 
make that thin silver emulsion
a place to live?


Melissa McKinstry lives and writes in San Diego where she mothers her disabled adult son, curates a neighborhood poet tree, and assists with translation of Yiddish literature. She is working on her thesis in the Pacific University MFA program. Her work has appeared in Rattle, The Seattle Review, San Diego Poetry Annual, Clackamas Literary Review, earned honorable mention for the 2020 Steve Kowit Poetry Prize, and is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review and Crab Creek Review. 

© 2021, Melissa McKinstry

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