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By Jacob Dimpsey

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my world is fine ash,
kicked up by sure
footfalls. ash upward rising
like steam
from leaves after rain
into a crisp sky, blue
like water.
i want someone’s bleached
dry skeleton to hold or rubble
to shelter me in the cold or
some shape to contrast

against the unformed.
so i exhale a final breath
of smoke from a long since
spent fire and collect lumps
of dusty ash in my hands to mold
into the only shape i know. here is

a face like mine, full lips, long hair, a whole

heart, breasts, hips, thighs, calves. i call
her daughter. she blinks. she smiles.
she calls me mother. i form ashen
walls around her. here are buttresses,
here are towers, here are gates. i call
this cathedral. daughter lives here,

eats the fruit i have provided, sleeps

and wakes. beyond its gates i take
ash in my hands again and i dig
on my knees long and deep, here
all carbon molecules scooped up and held
by me congregate and squirm to life.

here is a skeleton with muscle, legs, and

a head. i call this animal. here is a brittle

exoskeleton with grey wings. i call
this insect. daughter
cries out to me, alone, in cathedral. i call

this worship. i dig
until my hands turn black and
the empty space outweighs ash.
i take a step back. i call this ocean.

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