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the pericardium as a looking-glass

by Sarah Aziz


lulled, like the only pair of eyes 
you told me about. 
it is customary here, to nap 
in the afternoon with the carcasses 
of stars. also customary: to keep 
stolen smiles from daughters.


polished, vigorously, by pitying fire
-hands. all you had left to touch was
the soft seed of mercury. so, you let
it char your enamel, and call it mother
-hood. a refrain. the sable heart of carbon,
lost to blinding light. they never asked you.


exasperated—rolled gently in gossamer false
-hood. your dimpled elbows, spinning loss 
like fireflies in a tailorbird’s nest. blink. blink. blink.
And we have made from water every living thing.
your dry pulsating eyes, spelling me orphaned.
wiping the moon with a rag, 
I remember our language.

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