As if the sound means forever,
I hold that name, her name
humming on my lips
like desperate spasms of hope
in a newly-pinned butterfly.
There’s a weight to it-
that name she lived
She carried it
where hope writhed the hardest:
in her womb, in her breast.
Tethered and unacknowledged
in that space of expected sacrifices
Kids don’t know a damned thing
about the wounds they make and leave
when they no longer make us their homes.
They don’t see the residue of our insides
coating their outsides, painting them as
our lost appendages.
They don’t understand that in some ways,
sly cancer-coils that burrow and bide
are gentler than phantom pains of loss.
Hope atrophies, calcifying
even the lightest wing,
shriveling the most obstinate
strength, until forever
is nothing but powdered grief;
ashes on my tongue.