My hand holds a maple leaf, edges
pocked where moths have eaten
holes in. Their powdered wings
left dust across the leaf. Dew
wetted the dust, which dried
into trenches, like sandbags bolstered
across battlefields where bodies have
lain with bodies. Bodies of boys with muskets
have prayed in these trenches,
the moisture puffing from their mouths,
rising up the trees of cold Virginia autumn.
The moisture from my mouth mingles
with albuterol from the mask on my face,
the trees out my window are withering. I
remember the capitals of the north and south
during the civil war were less than
100 miles apart. The moon is 6,786 miles
in circumference. Half of the water on earth
is older than the sun itself.
My breath merges with soldiers’ breath.
The observable universe is tangible.
When we twine our body with another body,
we bring starlight in. When we kiss, we taste
centuries of moisture upon our melded tongues.
When we bloody our hands with hatred,
bearing down against another,
the blood they bleed is the same moisture that
becomes the milk we feed our babies.
The universe is the water in and around
one another, the water of breath and birth.
Everything else is signal-to-noise,
so much noise that we are at risk of drowning.
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