“…This life/ that hurts like a son of a bitch.” – Paul Guest, “Love in the Singular”
This tree that opens its arms to reveal a pattern of pencilled ribs.
This summer of restarts, of ebbs and flows among detritus of beach umbrellas.
This sky, metallic as a makeshift lantern in which holes have been punched with a nail.
This girl that sings in the yard with a voice to rival the edge of a rusty blade.
This grandmother who implores her to stop in the name of God else the chickens might die.
This mother-in-law who would marry her son if she could.
This man who bows his head and lets himself be led to the kitchen to eat with the slaves.
This mouth that slavers at the smell of cheese and bread despite its nine missing teeth.
This leg that jerks in the night from dreams of desert fires and limbless boys.
This morning full of the relentless whirring of cicadas in the trees.
This cup cracked at the bottom and the rim in which a Maid of Orleans jasmine buds.
This handful of salt at the bottom of the jar which gives itself to the broth.
This leaf which unseen insects chew into lace each night.
This purse that spends and spends itself until there is no more.
This appetite that’s never slaked.
This clean white suit and faded hat, these old but polished shoes.
This billfold with loose change.
This silver ring, this rosary, snapped in the middle to break the chain.