— for craig santos perez
seed spills across the hard winter soil like engine oil.
noxious rainbows flower & splay. fumes choke. bare
as a cathedral, the scant light filtered through ironwood
comes to us as shadow. as a childhood minus the innocence.
as moths drawn to an unlit candle. an act of contrition. tonight
let us instead praise the unsacrificed. praise the uncollapsed bridges
still reaching out for shore. less bloodied-up sidewalk, the sunset
right now is a previously unknown red. red as the hearts our children
paint in their minds when no crayon will do. an alphabet not so much
of longing as breath. untainted breath. tender violences. & the bodies
pulled from earth just another green thing. all root & tug. future nourishment.
praise the calloused flags of our fingers: disinterring, replanting, consuming
every last bit of history so our nails stay dirty. it is good, the scavengers say,
to be dirty. & exposed. like organs opened to sky. to beak & chew. claw &
consent. maybe it’s time for the doors my daughter draws on her bedroom wall
to be doors. for the bullet lodged in our language to burst out the other side.
praise the mountain where we celebrate our dead by leaving them be. & the love
of everything carried. & miscarried. the cruelty we carve into trees. & skin. tonight
let’s autopsy those deep shadows & give what haunts us a face. & name. a body.
hands. then hold those hands tight as a dying mother. walk us through that door.
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