That Morning, We Burned Toast

for RC

Missing sunlight, she totes stale darkness from room

to room, opening windows in invitation. She hums

private names for despair and hope, for gratitude.

Her new flesh tastes of grainy smoke and sugar,

wears a fresh scar. No broken limb, and life swirls

and stutters. She fell, and fish still swim in the sea.

Inside keening winds, mists can slip swiftly into torrent,

a wounded diver can flounder. Beneath the surface,

diffident waves swallow faces and swollen fingers.

Every day, translucent shallows lure the unguarded

with brutal ease. Past faded warnings of riptide, hidden

depths, drift of gentle power, one bather floated.

Flicker and alternating current buoy the survivor:

memory, language, dream. A thousand suns shimmer

distress and revelation, one hundred billion neurons flashing.


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