My mouth is weak, my finger red
where a knife I washed slipped
into it, one more scar. I can't explain

why I need to hear trains whistle
at crossings where cassia blooms,
indolent day after day in the heat.

Bees noisy in flowers force
their way in. Passing cars
toss blown leaves into air.

I'm pitied for childlessness,
cheap jewelry, wrinkled clothes.
I always tell the same stories.

Once I rode through the night
with my father, car windows open.
Every small town in Iowa was lit

by sulfur, salts of antimony, spark
and flame. Red rockets rose
and burned. Why must anyone die?

Miles of stars shot out of the rockets.
Fire wheeled on the open horizon,
quicksilver fountains and spumes.


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