How you settled in my gut
like a drop of blood in a cup of tea.
How my wounds became mouths
miming the song that glows in your throat.
At the wedding: love her like Christ
loved the church. And your huff
livened the crucifix, made Jesus weep,
his tears smearing his chest, which grew
into breasts and bled but nobody saw.
That our fathers are starving
birds that rustle in us
when we kiss.
The day I split roots with a shovel
as you said some words for the cat
that chose your yard to die.
How I knew then:
we could bury our children.
Spring has arrived from the waist
down, you said.
Awakened at four on a work night,
your laugh—a cloud pregnant
That the seeming continues to seem.
When I kissed your head as you left
the surf, I couldn’t tell
your sweat from the sea.
The cranky birds announcing
dawn. How we grieve differently
now—the howl holding its own
echo in the shape of the cave.
That you accept this garden
of affection I keep
for different women.
How the immigration agent
saw a woman
of color. That your accent
sharpened his tone
and your tremble forced me
to feel my whiteness viscerally
like the handle of the blade
I pushed into the dead bird’s breast
the night my father left me
out of shame.
Your heart-shaped uterus.
That you’d risk it.
How your body became a man’s house
you lit and let burn.
Then: indigenous grasses
brightening the ash. An emerald
That a body can work
and then not work.
The fact of someday,