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Katherine Riegel-II







When I lie down to sleep in the late afternoon

or step shivering from a warm shower

sometimes I don’t recognize my house,

my towels, my Chinese quilt, my own

oversized and sluggish body, the flowers

days past spent and still drowning

in a vase on my fake wood-grain countertop.

I close my eyes, sure I will awake/emerge

in my real house, the moss green 1970 two-story

where my mother waits to put my hair into ponytails

swinging from the sides of my head

before we walk out into the summer dusk

to pick raspberries (in spite of the praying mantises),

until on the path in our backyard she stops,

says, “Listen. That’s a whippoorwill,”

and the name of that onomatopoeic bird

pushes out of my mouth in a rush

of feathers. I open my eyes.