Population: 41,685
They tried to create something called a Republic.
In the back seat of a white van with no windows,
 
they passed a styrofoam cup and wore wool socks
on their hands, as if they’d been raised in row houses

not the cool myrtle subdivisions of white eye shadow
and glossy overcoats, mothers who pelted mailboxes
 
with gravel, peeling out after martinis with Joyce, Ruth,
the other one with the frosted hair and the habit
 
reserved for bathroom stalls and wedding receptions.
They had to write their manifesto on a night they both
 
remained clothed. They stole paper from her uncle’s
butcher shop, running fingers along the Genoa ham
 
like it was a thigh, caressing the filigreed mortadella,
tagging murder on the sweaty refrigerator cases
 
then charging into the night with salty hands and dry
salami on their breath. She covered her sneakers
 
with quotations and burned the ends of her hair
accidentally, then called it intentional and ransacked
 
her sweaters in search of something torn, pilling
like her sister’s skin at seventeen, pasty behind 
 
dictionaries and other apocryphal texts that sucked
girls away from the highway overpasses and tracks.
 
Everything that happened underground was doctrine,
or at least subject to several lines of pink highlighter
 
and a flashlight beneath the chin, ghost stories over half-
eaten sandwiches. He stood still while she sketched
 
him in the nude, holding a can of gold spray paint,
a crimson vest hanging from the back of his chair.
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