canticle of healingI. the day we broke up was an x-ray, seeing my internal structure for the first time in months. you had told me then that my tumors were just birthmarks, swollen with the kind of fear you could kiss away. but the injuries were always there, and when you came around to prescribe yourself to me, you only hid the parts of my body that needed repair.
II. you traded the worth of the time we were given for a promise of eternity that you have never kept. i know you spat the certainty of forever to all the girls who came before, and their brilliance or mine was a shiny thing you found on the sidewalk and then dropped when you found something shinier. you sputter "forever" like it is not a sandcastle that often wears as the tide sets in, a construction only kept alive by defenses stronger than sand or teenage ignotism or the hands that you thought were strong but were too small to hold all of my trembling parts.
III. even now, i think
1945 in sepiaThe boy called “spineless” has a backbone
lost in the rubble of Hiroshima, his unfettered hands
pulling at maps and photographs.
With worn and radioactive identity, he knows
that the world is a veteran, sick of empathy
and can look massacre in the eye without blinking.
Hastily, people will cleanse themselves
of alpha particles and corpses
they did not touch.
History classrooms will suck the marrow of tragedy
unafflicted, passing Nagasaki
as another word in a textbook,
pointing at pictures, saying
That’s what you get
when you mess with America.
He does not blame them.
They have not seen for themselves
the crimson cloud inhaling his old home,
the cave of his mother’s mouth
swallowing the stolen decades.
They did not touch the ashes imprinted
on buildings, the black silhouettes of people
whose bodies burned into them;
did not put his father’s jacket
into the back closet
one last time.
Still, this rubble-spined boy
keeps firm th