about the author

Ruth Lehrer is a writer and sign language interpreter living in western Massachusetts. Her writing has been published in journals such as YES NO Journal, Trivia: Voices of Feminism, The Blue Hour Magazine, and Everyday Genius. Her novel, Being Fishkill, will be published by Candlewick Press in 2017.

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Water Damage 

Ruth Lehrer

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Everything is relative
Plastic wings bring me
closer to that fire
Marissa ate the wrong thing for lunch
Like mustard for breakfast
Like a wild turkey in a beach chair
If you click on me I will foveate

We are supposed to be
saving the peepers
holding off traffic
while they go to spawn
traitor that I am
I open my mouth
—like a fretted line
peep after peep—
I open my mouth and eat

A historical fret
A timely hiccup
My sister asks if I have a life plan
I’ve never done anything with a turnip, I say
But do you have mercy? she replies
She turns on the tap
and points carefully to the place
where I should put my head
Autopsy of my own stain

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