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"Cento of John Irving’s The 158 lb Marriage" by Frances Klein

Year: 2023 Medium: tongue on skin

In Vienna she wore his letter-jacket and her worst fears, but they still made a kind of art together. Up against the wall on the 20th floor, she unfurls like Schiele’s Sunflowers. He enters the frame, a honeybee tantalized by the anther of her open mouth, the stamen of her teeth.

Anyone viewing them from the gallery floor would note first her long fingers in his hair, then the gauzy distance on her cold, elegant face. They would notice how, although he fills the foreground he seems an afterthought, a drape momentarily covering a work of art.

Frances Klein (she/her) is an Alaskan poet and teacher writing at the intersection of disability and gender. She is the 2022 winner of the Robert Golden Poetry Prize, and the author of the chapbooks New and Permanent (Blanket Sea 2022) and The Best Secret (Bottlecap Press 2022). Klein currently serves as assistant editor of Southern Humanities Review.

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