A Poem in Which Everyone Survives Until Dawn

As in the hard heart // of an avocado, the part we cut
around, // amputate, curse // when what’s left isn’t enough

to sate our hunger. As in that // beautiful roadside bouquet
bound to a guardrail // meant to celebrate loss, to warn us

children // still live here. How // the light angled
through this angel // oak, on certain clear // mornings,

appears as a noose. As in // that history. As in // a rewritten
history. My ancestors now // nowhere in it. // As in the distances

grandad’s eyes fled // to find himself // forgiven, all that
burnt acreage between us // a fistful of water // could smother

if unclenched into palm. // Touch. Please. // How my son looks at me
that way. // Still. // That ugly cathedral I didn’t mean to build // beneath

his tongue. That bridge in trying // not to collapse I’ve kicked
the beams from. Bridge, as in // a temporary crossing. // River,

as in always // somehow crossable. Despite us. // Sturdy, as in persistent,
as in // I’m sorry, son, as in I pray // the world refuses // to rust you entirely.