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Reading The Book of Orgasms at Mount St. Helens

                                    Kelli Russell Agodon


           for Nin Andrews

No doubt she was ready
to explode. I watched her lava dome
              curving, the arch of a back

acre, the landscape burnt
from her heat. She really hadn’t meant to
              let go like that,

all at once, but she’d been waiting
(like so many others) for so long
              that once she began

there was nothing left
to sacrifice—the blanket
              of evergreens, now matchsticks,

a final cigarette to smoke in the dark.
How she must have ached that day,
              but like most saints she wanted

to reform, to cover herself with a white sheet,
and smolder a bit, hold back the harmonic
              tremor undulating below.


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