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Amanda Deutch

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Palm of the Hand

NYC, 1990

And you undid me. Undone smoking by the window facing the CIA building on East 56th Street.

Rum and coke you coaxed me to drink. What it was spiked with I don't know. Roofies? K? Earlier

that same day. Probably March, I had proudly stolen an aqua cotton cropped button down from

agnès b in soho, over priced at $70. I had played hooky and went to one of the used record stores

on 7th Street where I asked for Velvet Underground cassettes. They didn’t have any, but the one

other customer in the store told me to hold on a sec and then ran upstairs to the walk- up above

the store and came down with a hand-labelled Velvet Underground and Nico Live cassette. He

placed the pink and black cassette in my palm. It all seemed to happen in a swollen stride. That

night I couldn't feel my legs my arms my body. I only wanted to smoke a joint and listen to my

new tape. A closet full of jet black clothes, you smelled like turpentine. The Cure posters all over

your room. Your mother had given me halloween candy when I was a smaller kid. Then she left.

Where did she go? My body undone and I couldn't speak, spoke, then gave up and out. The

shame seeped out slowly over decades until one day I spoke in the snow. And women surrounded

me, placed their palms on my back, the way I once read female elephants do with their trunks

when a baby is born.


Amanda Deutch is a poet, educator, and social practice artist born and raised in New York City, an unceded Lenni-Lenape territory. Her poetry has been published in The New York Times, Oversound, The Rumpus, Cimarron Review, Ping Pong and in many other journals and magazines. She is the author of several poetry chapbook collections, most recently, Bodega Night Pigeon Riot (Above/Ground Press, 2020) and Surf Avenue and 29th Street Coney Island (Least Weasel Press, 2018). Deutch’s poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and she has been awarded artist residencies from Footpaths to Creativity (Flores, Azores) and The Betsy Writer’s Room (Miami, Florida). Deutch lives in Brooklyn, where she works as a Library Specialist for youth and is the Artistic Director for Parachute Literary Arts.

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