a city of patina and dross:
old men in blue coats weep in train stations,
squares of soap, bones of light.
the city touched your skin,
turned it into cerements. I comb your hair
in the opiate dark.
you say you know the hagiography of birds
but you cannot weaken the glass wool of memory.
once you filled a whale carcass with jasmines petals
but your hand reaching into absence
is still only a hand
in the Atacama Desert
where women have sought for decades
for the bones of their loved ones,
their bodies breaking into siroccos, into amethysts.