is magenta tempera paint and sequins
pilfered from the library’s storytime rug.
He slathers backyard rocks with gold
acrylic squeezed from a wrinkled tube,
stacks them on my altar, like the pebbles
the living place on headstones
to communicate about the dead:
She was visited; I was here.
He was here: lain on this now bony chest,
plump plum of a being I pulled
from my open wound. My animal
nose, pressed into his blood-waxed
scalp, breathed in the best answer
to every question I know. Love—
I ask him to write the word, in his
untrained script, and I tape it
to the wall above my desk, so when
the bills pile up and the unknown
lurks like a trapdoor switch waiting
to be tripped, I can read it again and
remember again all I have forgotten.