Loss is cruelest to the tongue,
shards of scorch in rancid oil,

lemon gone flat at the back
of the fridge, or the bent tine

of a fork dragged across the lip
to add a bead of one’s own blood,

suckle of rust and salt of the torn flap.
For years I mourned departures

with swiftly dilated views, but this
one burns through every pore. Slash

and sear drain all trace from what
I flail to keep. How many

seams must I stitch up quick
in the skin of the fading print

to keep the wild hyacinth aglow
around the impress of our steps?

And how many hands do I need
to catch the mossy spritz

from the whelm of icy falls?
Quick, quick, give me something light

and sweet, three dozen kites
lifting surfers from the beach.

Oh give me back those two
white peaches we couldn’t eat.


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