Christine Holm

Because the beginning was before honey

and the orchid — because there was an August,

a prairie August with impatient promise,

broken porch swing, vines that wrapped

around the ankles to knees to thighs of figures

not yet stationary though there was white

already blossoming on her tongue, brittleness

broken over the leather case carrying his knife —

because I knew the sound of stripped speaker wires

made my veins ache — because I knew going back

might be painful — because the needle is broken,

scratching new noise into vinyl and nobody listens

enough to make out the difference — because I went

to gather lemongrass for the one I had to leave

behind, willow branches for the one who bruised

my windpipe, nettle for the one who couldn’t take

me too — because I let grapes go bad as the property

foreclosed and don’t own that noisy house anymore,

or the space where its metal swing set used to be —

because everyone is so polite — because the apiary,

the stone garden, I can take care of them — because

I want to be a workhorse for my sorrow every day —

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