I.        Summer

“All I eat is sunflower seeds.”

I think of cool pennies in my small palm
How eagerly I traded dollars that summer
To cut my tongue on salt and seed
Change is what is left not spent

She sits upright
Rhinestones on her shirt splitting and spitting rainbows

“I don’t look cute eating anything else.”

Pinpricks of light fold into her open mouth.
This is ritual of exam
And excavation of

A triangle of a painted tongue where
An orange film melted into its residue
Pink flesh of gums I imagine
Crushing seeds into pulp
Husking the shell of

“When I have teeth again, I’ll eat steak.”

The light narrows into her cone
And I imagine her lips
Narrowing around silver tines


    II.        Autumn

Clouds and hot air balloons hang like shifting stickers.
She shifts, too as
We both know air weighted by fall
And what has fallen

“I didn’t know what to do.”

Another ritual.
This time a cup of yellow urine
A strange and stagnant offering.

It is truly offering, I think
That which she emptied
Left for judgment

We wait in turn
Her urine dipped,
A paper slipped
On a file crossed with strange crucifixes
Buprenorphine, THC, Meth
Which purports and contorts to know everything
But what she is telling me

“After all I have done for her, to call me a bitch.”

The other offering is tears
Threaded with mascara and poised
Like watercolors
To be dipped, slipped, painted into
The forms of their desire


    III.        Winter

I run my fingers along the seam of her scar
Pulling her two halves midline
As if it were the thing holding her whole

I think of a split watermelon
And the impossibility of thinking that things broken
Can find symmetry again


    IV.        Spring

“I’m trying to do better,” she tells me
Lifting her voice as I lift
Hope from under its frost.

It’s lighter than I thought.

She, too, is lighter
And also light
Her face soft
Cutting light like a slice of lemon

I push inky tangles of her hair away to reveal
A pulsing carotid felt before heard
A taut violin string
Thread your way under the sternocleidomastoid and
Vibrato erupts

Neither of us can see the slip of New Mexican sun
Casting the Sandias in sherbet ribbons
So pink it reminded the Spaniards of watermelon
A big heavy moon of fruit
Hung over a parched desert

Would there be prophets without a desert?
The question sits hot in my mouth like a wafer,
Like the film she lays daily on her flexed tongue
Prostrate to what will be forsaken

The papery flesh of her shin
Turns white at my touch
Blood returns and
Skin startles into elasticity

What is a prophet,
But a desert of the flesh?

“I’m going to do better.”