How did we come to learn desire
should mean first, endure? To want

so much that the hunger to appease
must yet be strung as far and taut

as it can go: the way
a mother will demur, pretend

she’s eaten, so the child should have
no need to feel remorse for her own

uncontainable hungers?
And for the father to carry

a child on his back, say
it’s okay, the soles of his shoes

are thicker and more used
to the hard cobble of roads?

They sleep, then open
their eyes. Day after day

the thrift of open palms which
can mean grace given, or withheld.

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