Sara Martin

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Dear A— (an excerpt)

Sometimes I buy you a pear. The middle child of earthly treats. A male. He’s
interested in knitting from a young age. He wishes to attend a knitting convention
in Chicago, in November
he longs for shared interest.
Chicago is pregnant with smells and the promise of a parade. It is red.
Something that will take up space, everyone looking up but unafraid.
A morning for the sky to sit down in a chair, throw a blanket over its head
like the anxious gorilla in captivity; the bird cage. The purple flowers in patches.
The yellow hills that wear them. He is like you, he possesses
a parentally dismissive intellect.
He does not exercise regularly.
He balks at wearing matching shirts. He is full of sun-mares,
other pilots of the mind, shaped like black horses.
He takes bites out of the sun.
Other days it is a pomegranate. That confused blessing. It reminds me of breasts
or a tiny deer. It is impossible to share with hands. Except we did once.
We were on that stone wall by the undertaker’s cottage with the extra green lawn.
You had never had one before. We extracted the seeds in the dark
like ticks from the dog’s back. Like pulling the sleepers from their tent,
by the feet. The flashlight yellowing, we were tiny
surgeons, delicious monkeys, expressive shadows
you tore my stockings
like a silvering spider. I didn’t even hear a rip.
I leaned over a tombstone called BELL.
Once it was an apricot but I lost it.
I should have kept it in my hand and hand delivered it.
I put your fruit in my satchel with the rest of the loose benches I’ve collected.
I could be the owner of your paper doll,
put small legs on top of yours, dress you, make sure you’re inside
if it rains. What I mean, is that when I am buying my lunch or pencils,
wine or cigarettes and I see the produce section,
there is always some underrated fruit
I want to buy for you.
Occasionally, the kiwi. You’d put the whole thing in your mouth
and bite down. Extract the tiny towel
from your lips, a thin bone, a chicken thing,
hand it to me like a handkerchief.
I want to wipe your mouth.
You dirty idol. I whisper your name on the train.
I notice that you walk with a limp. You are a boulder.
Bigger than a boulder, bigger than grass.
The fruit I buy is unbagged. It gets pushed against books
a can of this or a couple of rocks. I never give them to you.
I examine the slits in their hips. The perimeter of the damage
browns like the in-between of sand and water.
I want to hand it to you behind a shelf most of all.
You make me wish for more curtains.

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