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The Visitors

He came before light,
his bags heavy
but compact—one steel-backed
pack, as they carry

into combat. He grinned
when I asked
how he had eaten,
where he had carried

the book I knew
he needed to keep him
steady, the one
made of an animal, fat
but bendy, its pages prone
to tearing. He smiled,

and pinched me.
We offered him water,
sesame crackers, a twisted
strip of meat, a tinned fish.
He took an impossibly tiny

cup of coffee. He said
we had not changed
through the years, had we?
We didn’t know

if it was a question,
or a fact. He ate a round,
pepper-flecked cracker
like a mouse, vicious
little nibbles.


Our visitor is lovely, her dress
always pushed up her knees, her knees
the only place that won’t tan. Her history

could make a movie, will be
a movie starring somebody delicate
but busted, in a painful haircolor, the kind
you find on baby dolls
in the grocery toy aisle. Her heels
are clear, her nails pure pink
with white, thick tips. I move

a wide circle around her, though she’s sweet,
her naked face pinker
than her celebrated frills, which I
have never seen, though the rumors
are all over the town
and the internet. In the morning,
when she comes to me
for more coffee, she holds her cup

above her head like a child holds
a bowl for it to be filled again
with more mint chocolate chip ice cream, please.

And I think that child should have everything
she asks for in this world. And I think that
child will grow up to be an ungrateful pig.


The Climate

I didn’t know
what it would do today,
somebody says. She’s only talking
about the weather.

It has not rained yet.

The temperature has dropped.
(Every time, I imagine
the second shoe      
or a red-leather medicine ball)

The rain has pounded
the plastic green
from the trees, left
them heavy with red

We remember that here,
the sky is visible. I spot
Orion, his drawn bow,
the red star nestled
in his armpit like a sore.

A bustle of cotton-candy yellow
in the humid green comes
to the eye like a wave
of air conditioning.  


Letitia Trent’s first full-length book, One Perfect Bird, is available from Sundress Publications. Her work has appeared in the Denver Quarterly, The Black Warrior Review, Fence, Folio, The Journal, Blazevox, and many others. Her chapbooks are Splice (Blue Hour Press) and The Medical Diaries (Scantily Clad Press). Trent was the 2010 winner of the Alumni Flash Writing Award from the Ohio State University’s The Journal and has been awarded fellowships from The Vermont Studio Center and the MacDowell Colony.