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This part of you has a name:
integument. I prefer facsimile

of a smile; cut flesh that shows
the baleen’s bend. Whalebone, however thrown

about by open mouths, can mean
so many pieces. Such bleached variety

in the wind, where even the stones go blank, sleep,
struggle along breath that escapes

like steam to cold stream above
the deck. There it hangs, brief, in

wonder; pondering whether to drop, to die
in the sea—or keep silent, endure

on as if haar, or sea fret, or simple
stratus, unhinged, come to earth.

Matthew Minicucci’s first full-length collection, Translation, was chosen by Jane Hirshfield for the 2014 Wick Poetry Prize and will be published by Kent State University Press in 2015. His work has also appeared in or is forthcoming from numerous journals and anthologies, including Best New Poets 2014, The Cincinnati Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Southern Review, and Third Coast, among others. He currently teaches writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.

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