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.