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Cameron Decker

February, 1997

Grandma stands at the kitchen table,
trying to save a hummingbird.

It's lying on a white cloth
and there's sugar everywhere.

Grandpa's outside,
yelling at farm equipment.

Worming around their living room
in sleeping bags, my brothers and I

knock heads until one of us
says something that hurts.

In a few hours, our sister is born.
I shove my little brother over

as he holds her
because she needs to learn.

For every second she is loved,
another overlaps it.

Mom cries
and Dad is a manager.

Portrait vs. Landscape 

I only write poems about people
smashing lightbulbs with
their bare hands.

You only paint landscapes
populated by animals
who secretly do not like themselves.

If I stand too far away,
the people start to look like they
are squeezing the juices of a pear
over their bodies.

If you stand too close,
you see that the animals have faces
and they are trying to give the pear back.

Originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Cameron Decker is currently an MFA candidate at Columbia College Chicago. His work has appeared and is forthcoming in Black Tongue Review, Ghost Town Literary Magazine, and Columbia Poetry Review.