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Manuela Williams

The Life's Framework

Remove one fact and a life becomes

lopsided. The tree outside drops

its figs. Upstairs a window slams

shut and the frame rattles. Everything

rattles like a flimsy frame.

The house’s skeleton.

Upstairs a door slams shut

and my skeleton shakes. I look

at my lopsided face in the mirror.

With the correct shade I can change

its shape, its structure. Like magic

there are cheekbones, a defined jaw.

Ta-da. An excavated memory.

A skeleton. What did I feel?

That stabbing pain and then

nothing. I poke at the edges

with my tongue. The structure’s

all there but buried. The true

shape of it. Revealed

with the right shade. A brush.

A steady hand. Outside

there are figs on the ground.

The ceiling light burns hot.

The light. The light. The stabbing

pain and then nothing. What is it?

I must have stood outside. I must

have plucked figs from the ground.

Remove one fact and a life loses

its structure. I can restructure

my skeleton. Give me a brush. Look.

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Manuela Williams is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Witch (dancing girl press) and Ghost in Girl Costume (originally published as part of the 2017 Hard to Swallow Chapbook Contest). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Thimble Literary Magazine, The Mantle Poetry, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Bone Bouquet, and other places. She is a columnist for DIY MFA and is currently pursuing an MFA in Poetry at the University of Nevada, Reno.

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