Late October

for Caroline

The heat has come late,
and unexpected. Listen,
there are no ears left
on the sweet corn. Stalks
torn from the earth. Rows
and rows of pumpkins
cut from the vine
like too many red-headed dolls
decapitated by jealous

brothers. Listen,
sometimes it is not
a brother
whose hands
do not understand.

Sometimes, heat
will rise out of season;
a mother forgets
how easily tulips
bruise.

This one, listen
she didn’t mean
for the lavender pollen
to stain her daughter’s
forehead.

Before the coroner’s report,
she had never even heard
the word petechiae.

 

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