She doesn't know what comes after.
So we begin again:
a b c a b c a b c
But I can see the fourth letter:
a strand of black hair --- unraveled
from the alphabet
on her cheek.
Even now the nail salon
will not leave her: isopropyle acetate,
ethyl acetate, chloride, sodium lauryl
sulfate & sweat fuming
through her pink
I ❤️️ NY t-shirt
a b c a b c a -- the pencil snaps.
The b bursting its belly
as dark dust blows
through a blue-lined sky.
Don't move, she says, as she picks
a wing bone of graphite
from the yellow carcass, slides it back
between my fingers.
Again. & again
I see it: The strand of hair lifting
from her face... how it fell
onto the page -- & lived
with no sound. Like a word.
I still hear it.