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Brattleboro


This kidney center was once a foundry,
it has machines that get dirt out of men.
This café was once an aviary, it has two

teachers named Jess buttering madeleines.
They pause to ask me for sperm. Younger
Jess speaks most, and clear as a windlass—

she’ll come get my semen and put it in
her wife. It’s true my chest was once
a spinet. Pastor says he can hear children

in me turn as I kneel. He’s pretty liberal.
Decide you are perfect, he says, no point
asking forgiveness if the good Lord

won’t forgive. This station has always
been a station. It has Marcel Duchamp
arriving, surveying the white spires,

the wide common. His first coming scared
the Jesus out of us. I was twenty. Snow
was stealing the edge of spring, or glazing

the gables, or maybe some yippies were
tapping young maples. I was skilled
in religious science, had commonsense

from the farm. Look, I said, I know
your plan for us. I led him to the futurity
show where he’d counsel the breeders:

Put versions of your calves in me, dedans,
dedans, dedans. The man was a mantra,
a truth in a birch. Now when he comes,

gals cross the Winooski to hand him
their earrings and fellas surrender their studs.
Smelt the gold, make us a calf, nous sommes

pour vous, pour vous!  The birds of Vermont
are loud and lovely. Marcel has touched our
Charolais and left in her a note. Conductors

need assistance, it says. Did Cybil 
Shepherd call to apply? She’s a beauty.
It’s true her thigh was once a timpani.