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The Sour Sweetness of Tobacco by Ronald E. Tisdale
published in Volume 2, Issue 3 on May 21, 1995

clinging
to your fingers

no matter how many times 
you soap your hands in 
ritual lather

you cannot erase 
those brown stains
of a life marked by choices:

What color
will my next lover be

What space 
will we inhabit

Whether dreaming
to carry his lust to term

or to consciously abort.

Now
only in the course of a dream
or a dreamt of visit

in phone calls and letters we chart
each others progress through foreign places.

Our litany of being:

We are stretched across a cable under the ocean
voices pressured, muted, stressed

by the slow weighted water poured 
in a basin.

You 
are the ghost at the other end of the cable

your voice 
a fist closed 
on my heart.

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