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The Blue Moon Review

Accessory to some murders
by Heather Dubrow

After our green building cracked and exploded and the final decree filed in, back stiff as playing cards, I kept dreaming you had killed someone. The body was decomposed in lime, and you told me about it in the dream, handing me complicity, my hands clean, my fingers twisted into yours as you held me. He killed a marriage, a kindly friend glossed the dream, closing its windows, building me a shelter from guilt.

Never really killed off by that explanation, the dream kept prowling at midnight, thirsty. Time for a house cleaning. Pictures, letters, executed with sharp scissors through their hearts. What-ifs uprooted, bundled into garbage bags, tied with two Saftie-Ties. But the memories from a dead marriage are as determined as a mint plant. May is the month when experienced gardeners prevent the plant from taking over their new garden. Pour poisonous words on it twice a month. Be sure to close the herbicide jar tightly if you have children. May be fatal to whom. And so I composed poems, burying you in sonnets, tying you up into couplets. Meanwhile my jokes inflict paper cuts on you, she’s such a card, some of my friends said while the ones with sharper eyes and tongues kept their silence.

So finally the dream goes into remission and lime is nothing more than part of a gin and tonic, and I sip recovery, composed, on airy balconies. I play cards and stories in trustworthy evenings. When that phone call breaks into my house. I never dream of your killing someone now that you are dead, but I should have known earlier that dreamers who play with death had better hold all the cards.

Heather Dubrow, John Bascom Professor and Tighe-Evans Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the author of a play produced by a community theater and of two chapbooks, Transformation and Repetition (Main-Travelled Roads/Sandhills Press) and Border Crossings (Parallel Press). Her poetry has recently appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Prairie Schooner, and Southwest Review. She has also published five scholarly books and numerous articles on Renaissance literature and on pedagogy.

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