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Mary Biddinger


I loved you and then I learned
about your influences, and it was over

the same way women are over when
they fly controversial faces

above the necklines of silvery gowns.
I was tired of being treated

like a toy helicopter, something flimsy
transformed into an act of war.

Eventually we’d all end up
tangled in the neighbor’s boxwoods.

Tell me about the insidious malware
you begged me at the shore,

mind filled with nude bots, sick pixels
like the night we brewed our

own rum and broadcast the resulting
sickness to distant galaxies

and to an unfortunate tent
city by the tracks. You groped to hold

my hair back but instead lifted several
slim wallets off tweakers

and got a job offer as resident detective
because the wallets were stolen.

You were skilled at obscuring identity
and kept all influences close

as a clandestine hangover
until you slapped them onto the table.

Mary Biddinger is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Small Enterprise and The Czar (both from Black Lawrence Press). She lives in Akron, Ohio, where she teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Akron and NEOMFA program, and edits the UA Press Akron Series in Poetry.

JD Thornton