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The Book of Poems 

Jenni Russell

Some nights I find the book
tucked in a drawer between G-strings
and a fuchsia boa. Other nights,
an older gentleman selects it from a stack,
hands it to me and says,
"It only exists on this side of humidity."
His cashmere sweater smells like pipe tobacco.
A globe-shaped ceiling fixture reflects
in his dark hair, slicked back like Fred Astaire’s,
and the mole on his chin protrudes.
He removes his shoes, slips into flip-flops
dipped in gold glitter and paints a horseshoe
path around my chair. I close the book.
On the cover, a wasp licks the residue
of an orange Popsicle. I say, shoo. It rumbles
into my mouth and stings my tongue.
The book drops. The man grabs it and runs.

Jenni Russell

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Author Discusses Poems