Outside the Garden
Jesse Breite

I hear her little sentence on the phone, distant.
A male voice lashes, buckles underneath hers.
She whispers out secrets: her divorce is final.
This is her job: dirty laundry, another bed, cash
that was and is still under the table—nothing
she can explain. In the picture that is sent to
my phone, she weighs thirty pounds less than
three months ago. I wonder how she understands
this reshaping of her clay. She is her own child,
her own mother, tilling her fields after a dead season,
letting her legs tilt and shiver in the wind.
On her bright red skin, quaking buds set and shake.
A marvelous eye ignites her soft buoyant petals.
I’m a breath short of knowing, pitifully unatoned.

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