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Alyse Knorr

From “Mega-City Redux”

 

 

 

I picture your mother—auburn-burnt hair like yours—wiping her hands with a dish towel, standing on the front porch shouting “Scully! Dinner time!” And you come bolting down the street, child-size doctor’s bag swinging in hand, smiling wide the last smile you will ever smile. Dana, let me touch your face. You can go to sleep. The world is as safe as it ever will be.

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day before grocery day, Xena and I eat mini-bags of microwave popcorn and sludgy French Onion Soup Great for Cooking. Outside, a five-foot icicle hangs from the gutter’s edge. In other places, women are pinned down by their wrists, and in various online comment boxes, men and women present their opinions on this issue. Gray snow streaks the windows. We spoon the eely onion strips around and around our bowls.

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

Dana, what I love most: your reversal of reversal. The gold cross dangling from your throat. The wonder in your eyes as the light beams down blue. You have the answers and you have the data. Your skepticism saves lives. You don’t want to believe—you believe.

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

Sunnydale is one thing, Buffy, but did you ever visit New York in the ‘90s? I read once that the solution to the crime wave was not more cops, not a citizen patrol or work programs, but paint: a fresh coat on every subway car, every night.

 With my fresh coat I take to the city streets, knee-deep in the lightest cotton-crunched snow. If I can find her footprints, I’ll follow my mother home.

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

Buffy, Xena, and I walk to the car with our keys between our knuckles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

It’s true: I have been known to confuse conflation with conflagration. To conflate the two. To bathe lushly in an oil black as my inside eyes, where a gala of women gathers nightly. Dana, you are J, K, S, and C. You are E, A, and L. Transitive property, conduction, convection. Convention of the address—O Dana, name I use to light the past on fire. The past: a list of names.

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

We all watch TV together one night: a program about a man with three wives.

 

Xena: I like where this is headed. 

 

Buffy: Is there an upper limit? 

 

We are limited only by our limited weapons. Our logic is deadly, when it’s not foolish. When it’s not logic at all. 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

Dana, I turn to turn to you and find you’re someone else. I wanted your surgeon’s hands, your calm, your faith. When did caution turn to fear? When did reason turn cold? Once I read a story in a shield, of women who built cities from dust, who built altars of love to mark its end. I can still see the smoke from here.

 

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