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Strangler | Meredith Boe

Head lolled to the side like a dog.

Sweetly pollenated air on a nature walk.

He picks up a feather and says,

like this one?


A book told us of the languages

in which lovers speak,

and, more importantly,

in which they want to be spoken to.

Gifts resonated with me, the example

a feather—gifts can be free.

Lovers love the self-

effacement of free.


As he holds it there in front of me,

I think, who is this stranger?

Only sometimes do I answer myself.

Most days I’m lazy,

letting the question suspend there

while I cook soup

or look through edited wedding photos.


Being married to a stranger

is just as exciting as it sounds,

waking each day to the uncertainty

of certitude.

A trail of pretty feathers leading you

to the one who hit the window.

The benefit of tying a knot

versus letting a rope

simply strangle itself.


And I become unrecognizable to myself, too,

as the days continue

appealing their progress.


Meredith Boe is a Pushcart Prize–nominated writer, editor, and poet, and her short prose collection What City was a winner of Paper Nautilus’s 2018 Debut Series Chapbook Contest. Her criticism and creative work have appeared in Newfound, Passengers Journal, Another Chicago Magazine, Chicago Reader, After Hours, Mud Season Review, and elsewhere. She is a contributor to the Chicago Review of Books.


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