two front teeth

When I first learned language I knew of

teeth sinking into upturned knuckles, of blood strung

into veins like tripwire. Of mouths pouring

into one another to make way for cartilage.


Often, my mother held my hand like a breath.

I felt the scratch of my father’s grit-caked nails,

a blessing disguised as a half-swollen bruise.


I like to gather torches to

light my body, to stuff split tomatoes

into the seams like cotton absorbing bone.


My grandmother’s rose-flesh lips often

makes its way into my dreams and reminds

to not char skin against a man’s hands.


Maybe that is why I have made a home

out of the waning lines of my palm.


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