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One Mile Off Highway 50

"The first cigarette of the day makes me sick,"
he tells me, on his third and yet to move
from the kitchen where he woke.
"And now those damn Mormon crickets are back."

Up poles, under each foot, vibrating crickets.
Green, orange, brown -- a shiny wave
migrates, itching to make
their way across the road, between wall cracks.

In second grade I saw a smoker's lung
floating in a jar.

In the bar one farmer says, "The buggers ingest
twice their weight each day."

Night. That jarring lung. My father's chest.
This swarm eating away.

First place in the Ghost Road Press poetry contest

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