Lucas Bernhardt

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Infidelities of Coal

The difference between
saying What’s funny
about having
a reputation
for doing things you
regret at parties is
and thinking first
of confidantes
beneath leaves, napping
like gnats in the
afternoon, swarming
toward dusk, then of
the smouldering, always
approximating self,
more hooked than
awhirl, a thread
of ash looking back
at the crawling
coal, and finally
of regret itself
resting with its wings
tucked across
its back like a
closed pair of scissors,
housed in the eye,
glinting in the facets
of the eye, is
that our words
outsmart us the way
a diamond out-
smarts a seam,
a miner outsmarts
a diamond, a boss
outsmarts a miner,
etc., and even
if the diamond-cutter
does sometimes
grimace, there we are
atop the fiancé’s
finger wondering
why, if our lives
are so important,
they should be
so proscribed.

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