When they ask why now, after all these years

What does it mean when someone is speaking,
not asking, yet the sounds they make seem to curl

harmlessly upward like a question mark? I’ve an old
fear of looking too hard beneath the blunt ends of things

—something might break open at last. For a long time
I carried my agate carapace in pieces, proof of

another form, proof of having once been seen, before
something was taken. After, it dangled from my waist

in a sling bag. I wanted to piece them back together:
with red and yellow seeds, an eye-shaped amulet.

I know it’s sometimes hard to tell from looking
what I used to be. There are faint finger marks

going down the middle of the spine, as if to stopper
holes in a flute. That’s how I learned not all

undoing means yes, or I agreed to this. For a long
time it hurt to put the voice back in the throat.

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