The child spoke with benign urgency, a river
cresting at the forefront of his mind – impending,
yes, but without concern – youth doused in ignorance:

“Are you dying?”
She said nothing,
and even her portrait
remained the same:

empty behind the paint – all battered and a feint heart
– with beliefs so forgone they defined “absence” and felt
the way a hopeless thought looks.
When she fell, she didn’t fall – she crumpled,
and her gown was the only separation between them.

When you’re that young, you’re sure every shining fabric
is either silk or lace,
but sometimes it’s just nylon
and one day you’ll be able to make sense of that.


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