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Erika Meitner
Picture a sensitive

nail-bed or the abyss

of any schooled

entrance clipped

back with the longest

single Hello Kitty

barrette lost in a

nightmare escape

from the wrong

hotline companion

who sent a beehive

of dry cotton candy

on a spooled paper

cone that could play

records with the right

intravenous needle

rolling a message of

slumber party trundle

beds out from where sun

blistered every tender

lip until we’d swear

it wasn’t a cold sore

for one beach kiss,

one last chance to lick

bottle-breath or insert

fingers into puckers

like the older girls

who stood at restroom

mirrors drawing indexes

(slow) through their

mouths to remove

all excess traces of

evidence, of glossy


O-hole pinkness.




Erika Meitner is the author of Inventory at the All-Night Drugstore (Anhinga Press, 2003), and the forthcoming Ideal Cities (Harper Perennial, 2010), which was selected as a 2009 National Poetry Series winner. She is currently an assistant professor of English at Virginia Tech, where she teaches in the MFA program. You can read more about her at


A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure. - Henry David Thoreau


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