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Condemned Mental Hospital Elegy

                                    Joey Nicoletti

The musk of iodine stings
the thick summer air.
I stare into a hallway
of smog. I see
bruised fingers dialing pay phones
to call their loved ones,
helpless as water faucets;
my Uncle Frank’s face rising
from his meaty hands:
a bearded sun
over the cityscape of ash trays and Dixie cups
on his table in the visiting center
when my father and I pull up a chair.
The neon of the convenience store
sign across the street
into a puddle of oil. I put the key
in my sea-green hatchback’s scratched ignition.
Factory smoke gathers
like street gangs in my rearview mirror.

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