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Your Scalding Hair & the Flood & the Fire

Julia Cohen & Mathias Svalina

The grasses have a tide.

Tuck beetles into sheets, light your wall with cottonswabs stuck onto woodbeams.

Your sister dices the woodlings for dinner.

The stove sings with beestings as Mother hangs the vinegar-sheets from our knees.

Our shining knees, our okra hands.

The screen door opens to a field of child-clouds clamoring to their feet.

You fold your hands into a shovel & begin the tidal sweep of cattails.

You will upturn all that was planted while your sister brushes & brushes your hair.

A watering can for the newborn calf, a cup of corn for the careful.

The grass wove into a doormat we roll out of the way.

The bell is a tulip vase leaning on the porch our father planted.

You've canned the tomatoes & the pantry waits for the beetles.

A tiny fire slinks through the dry field like a pair of scissors.

Everything is scalding, nothing settles.

Tinfoil crinkles the poppybed & your sister speaks to the horse that hid inside the
       electrical socket.

She says: no to the failed hymns of granite.
No to the steeple that keeps secrets in its slats.
No to the fire that pillows your clean scalp at night.

You've covered the grasses in wet linen to salvage what the others try to preserve.

And then you cut your hair under the porch & make a nest for the beetles.

There are spoons not meant for stirring, a tide of tulips slipping over the grave, & then
       your shining knee weeding out our loss.

Julia Cohen & Mathias Svalina

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