[from Paula Bohince's Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods, Sarabande, 2008]
Abdomen small as a mole
on a cheek, as magnetic, but mostly near
nothing — transparent limbs
stilt-walking through the cracked-open window and into
the sunroom where Father,
thin as his mattress, tosses on the bony cot.
Longlegs, drawn by such heat
and sweat, wracked inhales,
exhales, tumbles toward his face,
a frail monster unafraid of the lingering smell
of hand-fed pigeons, the kerosene jug's
Soon this will all be over, soon . . .
Button at my throat, ruffle
at my feet, I look to its shadow long on the sheet,
then to its body,
a kernel, something to be crushed,
woods' chill seeping in
over all I cannot touch: the unlovely man, the whistle
coming through time, the pond
I'd run from, into his arms.