Electric, by Emily Skillings
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From a manuscript in progress.

In the dream I wrote this poem called “Electric.”

Somehow I got the t in the middle of the title

to wiggle. All the words of the poem

were crossed out with clay-colored lines

that ran through like fences or wires.

I could only see the tops and bottoms of the letters.

When I scraped the words of the poem with a knife

like a scratch card, the text remained hidden

behind opalescent scars

which hovered and shifted, “cloudlike,”

wherever my eyes rested. I put the shavings

under a big lens, and it seemed to me that was the real poem.

I remain unsure of what it said. The sound attached was red,

almost “a berry caught in an engine.” I do not think

I want to write anymore. I haven’t in many months.

One line occurs to me and repeats. It will not make way.

But here, still, is the knife in my right hand.

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