Given

The past is a dream wracked by fevers 
and unknown blistering pains, a second

name you are given to confuse the gods
so generous with gifts of sickness

and delirium. Camphor oil and vapors
in the green room, steam from a kettle.

House lizards free-fall from the ceiling
to kiss the floor. Secrets wrap around

your forearm like bangles, thin and 
swappable. Who gave you that ring,

that missal, that musical chain?
Am I yours, am I yours, am I truly

yours?
You went from one to the other
around the circle of kin. They were 

too busy braiding each other's hair
or picking seeds out of their teeth.

They rolled and stacked tiles of ivory
on tables, sweeping and gathering.



 
 

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