vietnam | 21 october

two.

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death is the thwacking of a metal shovel
kissing wet red clay⠀
mud and still black birds and⠀
the stinging cold of october. five'o'clock. ⠀

sweet squash on my fingertips⠀
slipping down ⠀
rough handles. I remember the splinter⠀
but not her eyes. this is the sweet⠀
cruelty of memory.⠀

tricks: mothers work in secret, veiled⠀
obeyingly. known only by folding suns⠀
and dead sisters and wilting trees and a small girl
tucked beneath the folds of my skirt. those buttons never held back much, and these hips⠀
have grown wide with irreverent sorrow. ⠀
dinners for one taste best⠀
standing, half-lit, yellowing. ⠀
tug, young one. elope, fluttering⠀
amongst shadows, the moments⠀
gilded with bittersweet crooning. ⠀