Thirteenth

Before men swallowed this number
it was for blood and roses
before they filled the black sky
with their hands and feet
night sat with knees spread open
to the ocean’s salt mirror

we have always
pressed our noses
into warm forearms
smelled the gaping
dark and sweet
the next morning

before they stole
the huge pain
(and trembled when
it shifted
in their garment bags
and sock drawers)

we bathed in it

unaccused

 

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