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Elsbeth Pancrazi

We were on the couch watching the news as punishment


for stubbornly using every excuse to forget

we were at war—




We were commenting on the unpopular anchor’s blazer,

the exact shade, you insisted, of lactic acid.

I disagreed.

I said


it was the color of the golden age of Reality TV.

Now back to you. You said

he looked a lot like the host of America’s Next Top Hostage.

You lowered the volume to tell me the plot

of one episode you’d caught:

the swat cops swarmed

a pharmacy.


A woman waiting at the counter with a scrip for Lipitor

was taken to the station for questioning.

She didn’t cry like an actress

you said


when they ran the background check, discovered she was an alien,

and sent her to a center in the Mexican desert—

she just crumpled.


The twist: she was Iranian.


I don’t know how much time passed before I woke you,

flailing and shouting Shut Off The TV!

Because you are gentle, you woke me

shh shh.

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