Cracking Pumpkin Seeds Between Your Teeth at Midnight

How fast 
the emptied shells 
pile up as your tongue 
lures slivers of roasted 
seed out of their 
flimsy armor— 

This is not 
a ritual of feeding 
so much as enactment 
of a ticking
urge inside you, 
the one that insists
on finishing the smallest
task, on bringing every
beginning to its close 
and leaving nothing 

If only
each one were 
the equivalent of a wish
fulfilled: the bomb
undetonated, the rifle
permanently jammed;
every brick and gleaming
window back in place 
at the hospital, the school,
the playground, the theatre, 
the train station. Everyone
alive in the country
they love—

You'd eat until all 
gourds are hollow,
though your lips turn 
white and your heart
inflates like a balloon,
swells like a galleon 
carrying barrels 
of salt.

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