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HONORABLE MENTION i am young but old enough to understand incessance like you know iceberg lettuce or gravity or men another deli sandwich insists on a tasteless leaf & wow what a privilege to be both empty & everywhere once i held an unrequited man by the hand called him relentless & he said thank you once i was told some food has negative calories & wow another bland body demands my consumption only to eat me back i try & talk myself out of my own history i open my mouth & all the old boys fall out the audience i imagine yawns him again him again him again

as i do him

a waiter smiles my date scoffs as i ask about a salad’s composition i have stopped taking at face value what’s supposed to be good for me i am old but young enough i am young but old enough that

to understand incessance i no longer aim to be ceaseless

it is my birthday again & my ears ring still i ache to heimlich my name from once-familiar mouths

lineage is just the charting of all the things i come from like my mother or the midwest or the ringing once i called a head of lettuce a meal & wow to eat & to swallow are not the same thing 82| PHOEBE 48.2

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