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By Victoria Brockmeier

it dreams in heat. it dreams in orange flame.

quarried; bared. limestone mines gnaw out

the ground on three sides: behind, a cemetery thrusts

into the air. a century stirs in the ground, more, bones

shifting from their bodies’ original lay, webbed moulder

breathing itself down, & smaller. for an instant the house

looks whole, square, lit from within

as if by electric light. but its paint has shredded

from wood aged gray; its roof

sags, broken to muleback by fire then weather.

how much longer can it stand, deedless. how many

long droughts, how much ice splitting its joints. tornados

twisting by a mile off, or less. shreds of weak light

knocking around inside, shaking at its beams & bursting

rotted floorboards from below. the highway growling

into its cellar, the cellar wrestling that growl

around & back. when there’s rain

it blackens the boards all over again, raises slime

& fattens splinters. holes for windows

gape, blank as if shutting out winter; snatches

of sky, headlights shoot back dully

from what chinked glass remains.

they want something more to cut into pieces.

VICTORIA BROCKMEIER will join University of New Orleans-based poet John R.O. Gery in a Dove|tail chapbook press reading at 6 p.m. Thursday at Sweetness 7 Café, 220 Grant St. Her first book of poems, “wmy maiden cowboy names” won the 2008 T.S. Eliot Prize and was published by Truman State University Press. A 2012 UB Poetics Program Ph.D., she edits the poetry journal Lumn and is at work on a critical manuscript, “Apostate, Sing This World Forth: Avant-Mythopoetic Encounters with Doubt, Chaos and Community.”