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I’m a young cowboy and know I’ve done wrong,
my father sang as I emerged from the river.
She likes wearing men’s clothes, let her wear them,
said my mother, tying his denim shirt around my neck.
Under the surface of the water, rocks glimmered
like small hearts. Here’s the mountain
where we stood in order of height, stars flashing
across our faces. What my father could not give my mother
she gave to herself. I wanted to be like that;
like the lawnmower, commanding respect, a steady echo.
Instead I was more like the grass, in love
with being severed, and later, with finding those parts
of myself that had been buried, thin blades
only the fresh spring rain had the power to recover.
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“The rising voices wanted to twist arms. The violence of their speech spread across her shoulders, inched down her backside.” A young woman struggles to have an abortion.
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Congratulations to Adebe DeRango-Adem & Simone Person!