What We Learn When We Learn the Hard Way
Anna holds hot coals in her hands like snow
the first day it falls. In November sun
she is all teeth and goosepimples and
apple pie and eyes the shade of leaves,
and you fit her name around your mouth
like the instruments you never learnt to play.
Anna is the ghost of left behind gloves
and school science experiments and
sometimes she comes home drunk, smiling,
smelling like the first book you ever read.
You swear she could spread her arms so wide
the world would beat in her chest.
She looks for you in the garden and you tell her
about the birds you saw fight amongst the trees.
How the feathers fell blood-matted and wild and
you buried the vanquished in an unmarked grave,
so number 8's cat couldn't reap the spoils of war.
And Anna laughs and smiles and understands
because she's swallowed more loss than
a casket can carry.