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Jill Rinaldi '23

In a smile, the ringing of the trees amplifies.  

There, their voices quietly distorted 

so that even the smallest of things  

crawling through the debris of melting metronomes

was sustained by its golden framing. 

The bugs made out with the sound of it, 

the leaves crying above you. 

I don’t know where I am but I was invited  

to walk, one foot exactly behind the other 

on the divider between road and sewer. 

Somewhere in that moment, the wind permitted you to speak.

And you would have, if a shadow had not whisked it away,

that note pressed under your tongue. 

In a room, the leaves were collected, 

tucked away beneath bent floorboards. 

You ask me how that might change anything, 

the lamp-dimmed light and the nothingness of it all,

but it already stood next to you,  

where on the side of a road  

something twitches and cries out again.  

I’m not sure where it’s coming from. 

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