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July 1, 2012, vol 8, no 2

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Autumn N. Hall

Stalking Coraline's Black Cat

Gaiman's dining room—
on the brick wall's flip side
the Other Mother

I find her at the bookstore. Calico feet in First Position. Straggly black yarn gathered into long pigtails. Her red felt mouth open so wide, I can almost hear spoken-word poetry spewing unchecked between her gapped front teeth. She is so like my nemesis—that nightmare writer who invades my every venue, adopts the thrift-shop model of my dress, parrots my prosody in her inarticulate, cracker-mouthed way. "I'll take her!"

I bring her home, knot a silk-ribbon scarf round her hand-sewn neck...almost tight enough to choke her.

sitting at my desk...
this button-eyed version
of me