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it is so hard
to be gentle
when I always have
the taste of blood
in my mouth

my mind
is a birdcage
with blood
and feathers

I miss my father
he isn't dead
only pretends to be
he dims the light
behind the curtains
to make it seem
as though no one is home
as though no one
is dusting the family photos
sweeping cobwebs
off the best of times
we don't talk
about the worst of times
then again
we don't talk much at all
still, he was a good teacher
I am a good student
I have learned my lesson
closed my curtains
dimmed my lights
locked my door
there is an ocean
in me
it is vast
many times
I have tread
the waves
that roll
through me
over me

I am
in myself
even after
all the lessons
in the deep end

It is a warm summer night
I am 8 years old
My bare feet are stained
Caliche rock white
A remnant
Of hide-and-seek
I am alone
In my room
My sisters and cousins
Are playing games
In the room next to mine
My family is outside
Papa's laugh
Through the open windows
The scent of barbecue
Permeates the air
I am still full on sopapillas
Shared with Mimi
After soccer practice
And smuggled candy
It is a warm summer night
I am 8 years old
And I am happy

you speak
soft words
onto my lips

I savor your
sweet nothings
warm and lovely
on the tongue

soft heart
soaks up loss
a sponge
to be rung out
used again

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