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Day 4: Tupelo Press 30/30 Poetry Project ( National Poetry Month)


Somewhere, a girl is taking 
her clothes off in an empty 

bathroom. She carefully folds 
her cotton underwear. Her father’s 

dry-cleaning shop is narrow 
and moist. In the shirt closet, 

irons are always hanging 
from the ceiling. When she smokes, 

she sits down in an alley,
watching steam-clouds 

rise for fifteen minutes every day. 
Around the water pipe, 

ants are dying. When white 
bubbles cover her left thigh, 

her fingers trace her jagged 
skin. She counts the ripples 

and pushes them 
hard with her nails. 

Water never washes away her burns.

From the innermost room, 
her father calls her name. She ties 

her wet hair. The yellow towel is so 
soft in a laundry basket.

Note:  A part of the first stanza is from Day 2: You Must Not Quarrel With an Animal / by Diana Khoi Nguyen. The way she used spaces in her poem is unbelievably fantastic. 

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