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JANUARY 2000 | VOL. 4, NO. 1



Gary Meadows


HEATHER J. TORRENCE, a resident of Billings, MT, is a welfare case worker and a writing and communications skills teacher. She has "no great ambitions to be the next anyone, but I wouldn't mind a footnote space." She is a contributing writer to Renaissance Online Magazine.


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INDEX: In Your Absence | Throw Yourself


In Your Absence

You told me all about getting kicked out of college
about your grandmother's scratched eyeglasses
about the conspiracies you see in every corner and alley
about spending six hundred dollars on a new guitar
about exploding red wagons and childhood science projects
about dreaming half-awake through your dead father's eyes

I have memorized the curve of your back
the names of your old lovers and friends
every bizarre song lyric you've written
the gravelly tone in your morning voice

Did you realize I was collecting you in pieces,
saving the jokes, debates, and confessions
for a time to come?

I would have collected the grave,
important Truths about your soul
but I was clumsy and my impotent hands
couldn't quite hold them.

I take these pieces now and set them
out carefully, one by one.
I sort through them slowly,
polishing, admiring, cataloguing

I hold each one in my fist,
clutching it like a child with a precious pebble
warming it as if to bring it back to life
feeling the smoothness on my palm

but a few pieces are sharp and jagged
I press them into my skin anyway
Maybe later I will regret the bloody scratches
Maybe I will fondly remember the pain

Some day, I suppose,
I'll do something useful with these pieces of you
Make a mosaic perhaps,to hang upon the wall
In your absence.

Throw Yourself

Throw yourself upon the world
hard and fast and long and wide.

Drink a fifth
Cry at work
Blame everything on PMS

Get revenge
Deny the truth
Hurl fine china at the wall

Call too much
Rage at pain
Hog the spotlight selfishly

Sing off key
Fuck strange men
Grab your pleasures greedily

Throw yourself upon the world
hard and fast and long and wide.