by Lori Romero <>

You try to smooth out my rough edges. But I like my sharp points.
I like drawing them

across everyone's ukulele strings, plucking them out like
gray hairs. You try to sculpt me like

Pygmalion. Hanging fiery necklaces on my ivory throat. Your bated
breath blows on my cheeks hoping they will

fill with the colors of sunrise. Your lips reach for mine hoping they
will turn into red Malaga cherries.

Across the bay there is a wintry woman
Her hair spirals down her back
Like wind chimes
She has a map of India on the wall
And she points to the place she almost visited
With the cave of the 1,000 Buddas
She married young and used up all of her stories

Perhaps it is the aftertaste that reminds us all things are fleeting.
I will tap a muddy shovel over the

ashes on my altar. Soon I will leave this thick space so I can puncture
the stars and drink their nectar.

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