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I thought I was hearing

the heat coming on

ticking the pipes

but it was a can

of paint

being shaken, it was

a thumb

cocked on a nozzle

before the word

was called into being--

then came the hiss

of breath

and a name.

It was very late

and I was up reading,

alight on the thumb

fly on the wall

and did not call

the cops on the sound.

By Lia Purpura