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Molly Brodak


We find ourselves at such heights, particularly break-neck.

And if it comes from the burden of being a button's eye—

what can be done but empty further.

What saw is best for the job? How far will you need to cut?

Band, jig, table. Hand. Circular. It will match your problem.

Most forsake the underneath for the fabric

of some dress, primitively magnetic, silk-like.

But mistakes are easier than a shootout.

(With a tucked laugh he could still say: okay, no.)

Like haircuts in the backyard with him—your dark pieces

falling around you in a homemade chair.

(Which is like the void of an iris—neither in, nor out).

And not distressed, not fake old, but honestly.



This piece developed from my curiosity in love poems and optical illusions. I wanted to write a poem in which certain words could be flipped (like Vanna White would do with a blank space/letter) to reveal a new word: the substitution of alternate images/concepts for love yields a pair of intimate, yet different, readings of the poem. I loved writing this poem—thank you for reading it.