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Debra Marquart


Too careful, that first day, we sat on the floor palm-to-palm making church steeples.  He showed me the trick where two can lean back-to-back in mid-air and rest easy, if one does not press harder than the other.



Leaving his building that afternoon, I saw a full moon rising in the east, a cool blue wafer, like an offering in the sky; and the sun, an exhausted swimmer, disappeared into the orange pool of the west.  I thought, if only I could reach up and cup both of them in my palms, I would feel certain.



Today he comes in happy with some things from his apartment, things we can use—a cheese grater, a spatula, a red soup ladle. He pulls the utensils from the box and turns them in the air, one-by-one like a magician—a potato peeler, a pancake turner—before placing them in the drawer by the stove.  I sit on the floor keeping track, I realize, for the day when I will again have to separate them from my own.

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Issue 21


September 22, 2017

Debra Marquart is the author of five books including, Small Buried Things: Poems (2015) and a co-edited anthology of experimental writing, Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Prose Sequence (2016). She teaches nonfiction in the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine, and directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment at Iowa State University. The senior editor of Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, Marquart has delivered over 250 invited readings and keynotes at universities and conferences from New York and Washington to Greece and Ireland. Her work has been featured on three NPR programs—Morning Edition, The Writer’s Almanac, and On Point—and the BBC. She is the recipient of over 50 grants and awards including an NEA Fellowship, a PEN USA Nonfiction Award, and Elle Magazine’s Elle Lettres Award. Her environmental poem, “Lament,” was recently honored by inclusion in Best American Poetry 2016.

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Issue 21

This writing was originally published in Opium Magazine, and is not listed in the archives.
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