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Interrupted Sonnet, with My Girls

by TJ Reynolds

I curl my spine around her body;
she’s almost inside my ribcage.

Her head feels like a silk nest below
my chin. I breath her feather smell.

My second child, first girl, Delilah.
She watches Youtube while I type.

(she reminds me of the girl I’d do anything to make laugh
back in a suburb of Mosul in 2005 and I have to wonder
is she still alive, older then than my girl now, maybe six
or seven, but already wise enough to know that her teeth
could mean at least two things – it only made me clown harder)

My daughter flicks her hand at the next video
icon that catches her eye. I click on it solemnly

and she wiggles in my lap. For a moment
I am holding two girls, their lashes locked

together in a web of filaments. How could she
still be alive? Does she remember me riding past

waving, jeering, doing anything to stoke her
guttering will again, at least for the span of a smile?

(she leaves, her outline in sand motes broken by the passing
of my old squad’s Stryker, phantom turbines still beating
a wake down an alley somewhere in my mind, so I clutch
my girl and breathe, hoping to preserve her in my lungs)

TJ Reynolds is an MA student at California State University Fullerton. He served in 1/24th infantry and deployed to Mosul, Iraq in 2004, which has inspired much of his creative drive. TJ resigns himself to the foolish and necessary hope that poetry and art can save the world.

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