To dust, I think
and can’t stop thinking.
Orchid bulb, blue bonnet—
was I, like other things
that bud from the earth,
born with a fine cake of dirt?
Dust that, when I am twelve,
is palpable and spice.
A tenth grader who rides
the same route home as me is flicking off
our bus as it drives away—
his hand a long tunnel back to him.
When my mother, weeks later, tells me
she heard he killed himself,
I am already asking about dust,
asking, Where does it go,
the body within his body?
If I were a different woman,
I would know how to wear it:
the future’s future,
like a fine fur coat. But dust,
it cakes when and what it wants. Bodies
like his. And when the deep cave
that’s in my center finally goes
from black to black, won’t I, too,
taste dust? A body like mine
still somehow married to the earth,
planted and planted and replanted.
No, not a body, but a stem,
fleshy bulb, blood and bone meal.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 3.
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