Letter to sorrow

Sorrow, thick as a tongue
in my mouth tonight, crackling
rind soaked in salt and vinegar;
heavy as a shawl wound tight
around my bodice, pressing
the light of the moon
from my eyes— Why do you
take me to bed with you,
sorrow, yet keep me
from sleep? Why do you
surreptitiously stick me
in the ribs to make me remember
where I’ve hidden away my last
small store of heirlooms,
and force me to give them up
to you? I have forfeited all
the best days of my youth,
all the profit from the work
of my hands. And yet you want
even the network of tiny
flowering veins in the center
of my palm, the leftover futures
that now no gypsy will want
to read. I go on my knees,
weep wounding, invisible
tears— I have no more gifts
but this cloud of rain, blue-
green as vines in my hair.

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