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“If the city is a girl, you are married to her; you are married to a wiser woman than most,” begins Cynthia Nelson, in the most fully realized poem in The Kentucky Rules. The text is illustrated by Tara Jane O’Neil’s stark tenement landscape in black and muted grays. Nelson and O’Neil—New York-by-way-of-Louisville lovers and partners in every sense of the word—have always used their various projects together to proffer such folk wisdom as sounds, texts, and images. Nelson and O’Neil met in 1993 at the unlikely intersection of alt-country lo-fi and math rock while touring with the bands Ruby Falls and Rodan, and merged to form a new group, Retsin. Given the duo’s personae as world-wise women, you’re inclined to accept Nelson’s down-home metaphorical insights—even as she reaches her unsettling conclusion: “[I]f the city is a girl, you have loved her & lost her.” Nelson reads at 2 p.m. at E-Loft, 1605 Connecticut Ave. NW, Second Floor. $5 (suggested donation; proceeds benefit My Sister’s Place). (202) 332-9639. (Colin Bane)