By: Shine Ballard

he & i, samenamed, we counted
those stitches, together. oddly,
they were more disturbing
than that greystiffeningthing
presented, pajamaed
as it was. we had not cried
until that mathymoment—i’ve despised
arithmetic since. he cried
to his mother, i to mine,
of such laxity, the lack of
decorum—they consoled us, or they didn’t.
i cannot remember.

i swore to never again linger
over a thing that was onceliving,
not again.
it’s a sense which never becomes made.

i learned a lot that day.
how family can have skin
which is different, how cousins
can be elderly. how those lost
find us all differently. for instance :
no one taught me, as a fouryearold,
how to lose a grandmother.

i misplaced a heman once before
and tragedy was the word, at least
for a minute. i faintly recall her sleeping
there, as they esteemed it—i’ve also had
difficulty with closing my eyes there
after; rest became funereal—but it was
the doughnuts in the other room
i was missing.

i didn’t know what cigarettes or coffee were,
but the room smelled of them—and those
sweetconfections‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎no one was crying
in that room. that, too, a lesson.

Shine Ballard, otiose&outré, currently creates and resides on this plane(t).

You can find Shine at @xShine14 on Twitter.

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