this is not an occasion for receiving flowers

Little red speck of blood

on the white bath towel.

Soft cape of womanhood.

Holding a lie

in clasped hands. Silence broken

over cold dinner—the bright rhythm of a father

spanking his child. Green

gunshots of the far-off

field. I made a bouquet

out of the childhood

books and small selection of finger food.

Splayed it out

on the bed and slept

amongst it for eight grey years.

This is not a celebration worthy of flowers.

The night of the girl

walking over broken glass

in sharpied shoes.

This is hanging up the phone

mid confession, conversations

between locked doors. It is the little tinderbox of trinkets

my mother lent when she left—

the wind-up séance

of the iridescent ballerina. Pirouettes

traced in gunpowder.

I have always hated apologies

for acts

of God. You blowing bubbles

into strawberry milk cannot start a tsunami.