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Long Division in a Time of Drought

                                    Shara Lessley


Those years, one and one
always seemed to 
                           add up

to nothing—our figures,
two dark

           nerve-sprung variables;
our sex, a snarl

in the ditch. Between us
draped in air—

a rift of white-

throated swifts that never
shrieked but 
                    circled
for months the water-

stressed trees
whose leaves folded inward

             then crumbled. By night
I sawed myself

in half

to please you; light steadily
leaked in—
                    without warning
one morning

I woke
to love’s sum

twisted again in intervals of
yes and no, no then

                               yes falling
like the quick

            arithmetic of rain

we’d come once more
to count on.


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