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Baptism River
by Cheryl Snell

The season hummed with machines—
muscle cars flashing toothy chrome
burned rubber as boom-boxed music
shook the block. I staggered
toward the river to absolve my ringing ears,
arms filled with seashells, ridged, shucked
absences that would prove it had been no dream
when the drowning began.

Loss flowed into me like light. I opened
my mouth to an alibi of dark, and exhaled
stars. Along the horizon, heads turned away,
interest already lost in the shells that arrived
with my leaving, though the trail reached far;
a reckoning, a line long enough for light to follow.


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