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At the Beach

Looking at the photograph is somehow not
unbearable: My friends, two dead, one low
on T-cells, his white T-shirt an X-ray
screen for the virus, which I imagine
as a single, swimming paisley, a sardine
with serrated fins and a neon spine.

I'm on a train, thinking about my friends
and watching two women talk in sign language.
I feel the energy and heft their talk

generates, the weight of their words in the air
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