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A friend claims that dogs are proof
———–—of purity. Just yesterday, mine escaped
—-—into the neighbor’s yard to eat a cache

of cat shit he had sniffed out. Pure: meaning
———–—unadulterated, without blemish. Lining
—-—my bathroom counter: fiber pill bottles

marketed to bottoms labeled Pure for Men.
———–—To make pure ice cubes, without
—-—cracks or ghosts clouding their insides,

my friend explains, you need to place the nearly set cubes
———–—in the freezer in a bucket of water.
—-—But why would you do that? I ask.

The Library of Water in Iceland collects
———–—melted glaciers into glass pillars
—-—lit from within. You can walk among them.

You can touch the cool concave
———–—of their exteriors. Whenever tempted
—-—to think that starting over is the only way

to purify, the ocean’s rollers stripping clean
———–—the earth, I recall that rivers once
—-—were a sewer, the citizens shitting openly

on their open shores. That we were alive at all
———–—during the time of glaciers,
—-—that we could drive north and see the sun

splinter the tundra’s frozen fields, they will someday say,
———–—we were that lucky once.
—-—Space is not the final frontier,

a commercial urges, it’s here, it has always
———–—been here—the sunlight stippling
—-—the sidewalk, the heavy lean of an oak’s shadow,

the thread of saliva after a man spits
———–—into another man’s mouth, suspended
—-—momentarily, conjoining them, stretching thin

before snapping into nothing—



Jacques J. Rancourt is the author of Brocken Spectre (Alice James) and Novena (Pleiades), as well as a chapbook, In the Time of PrEP (Beloit Poetry Journal). Raised in Maine, he lives and teaches in San Francisco.




Image courtesy of marieke koenders, via Unsplash.

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