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Sonnet: To a Marriage that Cannot be Saved
by a Weekend in Calistoga

by Julie Sheehan

Like the worming in, the mudbath clasping,
too close, the forced wallow and float, revolting
flecks, dermatic shreds. Like ginseng molting
in tea, oppression’s hot wet fecal grasping.

Or worse, oppression’s aftermath. The prickle
left when you’ve brushed a spider from your lip.
Insect scurry, low-volt, eight-point grips
you swear have colonized you knuckle to ankle.

Shudderful, the opposite of clean.
A cast-iron claw-foot tub, but light and charmless.
A racist joke. Too much, not enough,

the weak twine of a contradiction, the stuff
of truancy. And worst of all, harmless:
that anguish of not saying what you mean.








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