Gina Keicher

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OPERATORS

What else is there to infer when I put my hands around yours? This is how to close your hands
around air like an ornament. This is one possible way to make a fist. That is the approximate size of
the thing beneath our ribs. When I say you are my one and only I mean it in the way I mean it when
I say I know how to change a tire.

See my double-knotted laces. See me hitch my jeans up on my hips, tugging stray hair from my
forehead. We could curl in the hollow part of a tire. I want to. I mean this in the way I mean it when
I say, “I am going to bed” when I am going to bed and I want you to follow.

So many operators known and left for other operators inspire a noise through the telephone wires
that gathers on the corner and makes a loud sound. I throw a pail of water out the window and say,
“Keep it down out there.” I slide the pail onto my shoulder, just in case, and call the police.

You show up donning a plastic badge, a toy gun, an officer’s cap from a costume store. Dressed in
all the accoutrements of an instigator, I have no explanation. No apology. Each leg I stand on is a
tennis racket backswung at the front door, a stovepipe twisted around your waist.

All these euphemisms for the body being a body make me wish I could think up a more compelling
answer to the question, “What are you wearing?”

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INTRODUCTIONS TO OCEANOGRAPHY

We hear oceans until the one outside our door goes down into the earth. The storm dug a big drain
on the sea floor. That’s where the ocean went. We have to pass the time. And there’s this swell tub
upstairs. We climb in and soak for hours, hearing airstreams outside the window. No signals. No
radio. We have no meteorologist.

We are relying on our own instincts to know what the weather will do.

And then there is the wine cellar. In the evening we empty the bottles. We fashion a few into sleek
barometers and fill the remaining green glass with blank sheets of paper to send to some other coast.

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