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Adam Deutsch


Neighbors, the Hill, and Probate


Lawn turns to rock overnight,

every bird- and bug-dropped seed

ossified. This front yard is a bone yard,

a blockade of condo living.


She’s shaking on the sidewalk,

waves at the sink window

for you to meet her at a distance

safe away from what’s between walls.


The sink tap is full of poison.

She can taste it. It’s been added to her

mind by the man in unit six. A gated

side yard’s full of exchanged dilapidations.


In court records, the judge rules she poured

a month’s water each night hosing a grass dirt

patch. She looped the line on a fence to manage

weight, rested a block on it beside her slippers.


The side of the hill, its higher shoulder dried up,

police let the building be without kindness.

Her lake dried like a roof, her coat-closet hidden

body. The pipes. The months that followed.


Catch & Release & Catch & Release


It’s like

         someone offers you, say, a pint,

and when you lift

         a thirsty hand

to your big face hole—

         glide glass your tongue—

the drink spouts right through

         your cheek, and you think

maybe openings just live there now

         and will stay wide,

new ornamentals,

         dome decor you’ll

keep clean with spray

         and rag


But then it’s yanked.

         A new void, beer arcing.

A hook’s all gone, and stings,

         a fountain from a new

unlipped mouth.

         Then someone is all

sorry, bro, my bad

         which is to say

you are too small

         to mount or even eat.


Then you’re smacked back

         into your habitat,

one event over, and every

         next hour is mostly like before

only now you see the world

         with a new socket

below your natural eye.

         You’re guarded by lips

on a jaw that keeps catching,

         a maw that won’t

align to close.


         You confuse a cricket

with the grasshopper,

         what with their legs

or whatever that make

         cellos’ noise

and are percussive in air.

         They go flying like they just

had to learn something new,

         June bugs. How we’d all rather,

 smashing lazy

         evergreen trunks.

Adam Deutsch is the author of a full-length collection, Every Transmission (Fernwood Press). He has work recently in Poetry International, Thrush, Juked, AMP Magazine, Broken Lens Journal, and Typo, and has a chapbook called Carry On (Elegies). He teaches in the English Department at Grossmont College and is the publisher of Cooper Dillon Books. He lives with his spouse and child in San Diego, CA.

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