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Poetry by Kate Ehrenberg

Warm Life

Suddenly again that golden light bounces from asphalt–reflects flies and rising dust. Shakes off the cat and through the window. A darkened wood room where you are small on rough plaid carpet, dragging your forehead and muttering in your warm cheeks. Watch particles in one shaft of light, moved by how they float and never start.

Purpose today: yogurt, garlic, spinach. So. I pray a stock boy will address me in Italian. A mistake. Small embarrassment at a comment indicating familial wealth. Mysterious septic smell in every corner of the apartment. Construction in the empty lot across the courtyard. Boston Market dumpster heating up.

The arc of the train’s route on a map and two trench coats clutch together. Chin into arm. Ice crunches under the answer of the lobster’s sex. Flick. Soften. Find even foolish people sympathetic when they are discussing ingredients.

Friday: niece is still waiting, warm in the reddish glow of fluid and protein odor. Her last chance to come out on her own. Or. Tomorrow morning she’ll be forced.

Bloom up the bedsheets. Laugh at the tiny rose stripe satin alternative from your new money childhood, different from my new money childhood. Another thing I am too genteel for.

A friend tells me a baby can be this imagined, looming thing, external. I think of the platonic baby: naked and pink and bald and diapered, stands 80 feet tall behind me and crouches behind a building when I turn to look.

When I am the age of the people in this library, I want to be this library. Another trench coat, oversized men’s shirt belted. All hiding from the rain, all reading the newspaper here instead of paying for it. Wait. Trench coat lady still has her husband. If you die first I’ll be here. Cut costs and wear a braid to my waist.

Or. A baby is just the press of warmer flesh in the health food store. Or. Echo step bobs past old men squatting on the sidewalk. Eyes at a lower height to meet theirs. Your baby self is a character I like to imagine in different situations. More than I want you to say what really happened.

All summer the apartment is permeated by insects. A large gray fly on the gray shades. Shudders and buzzes electronically.

Kate Ehrenberg

IG: @tompeepington

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