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Gnats by Ladan Osman


I can't tell why I think the dried corncobs

in the gravel and the mattress under the tree

were not put here by children who bite so fast

they leave rows of kernels.

What does this mattress make me imagine?

What stalks this strange field? Who is eating my head?

Years ago, I would have imagined children jumping

off the branches, landing hard on the mattress,

shouting out when the odd spring caught a rib, an elbow.

There would be a young mother with a plate of corn,

red-faced from the heat and laughing.

Then, bird songs were not ominous.

Danger did not orbit like a gang of gnats.

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