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For your birthday? she says. 

Love, I say, or I don’t know.

I want knife fights in alleys, 

my hands shaking as they cut, 


are cut. I’ll settle for forgiveness, 

though not from anyone I’ve wronged.

Give me a wrecked bike by the Interstate, 

a house on fire, one brown sock & 


another black, new misadventures

to whir in my head like tinnitus. True, 

a book will do, a bowl of soup, 

another outer layer for the long winter.

Ace Boggess is author of four books of poetry, most recently I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So (Unsolicited Press, 2018) and Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017), and two novels, including States of Mercy (Alien Buddha Press, 2019). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

ISSN 2632-4423

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