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Dad under the Chevy Nova with a cigarette 

in the driveway Gentle so the ashes don’t fall

by the front yard by the crabapple tree

green sour and small Grandpa takes the Harley

around the block with Gage on the back 

and down to Stewart’s for some lotto

The grownups are like get outside and off Zelda

but I want to get back to the quest 

We’ve got how many pixelated hearts to go

before we get old How many days in my life

before the smoke takes hold and I go down

the same way breathless in the old house

under the cork ceiling my radiation mask

nailed to the bar above the blinds If I were to

count it would be up down right up up

I tell Gage the fairy wants the ocarina to play

a song we don’t know yet She holds the secret

until we’re ready Grief needs a manual

In the nightmare time is a great tree


DANA JAYE CADMAN is a poet, writer, and visual artist. Her work appears on, in New England Review, PRISM international, Raleigh Review, The Glacier Journal, North American Review, and elsewhere. She is an Assistant Professor and Director of Creative Writing for Pace University Pleasantville. Find her at


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