Tom Daley

Before My Body

(After Susan Hester Breskman)

A short tree punctures the car window.
Bits of bark grasp the face
of the girl in the front seat. A blue voice
rustles a hungry innocence.

Out-of-range Julian, spattered with soup,
dribbles to a dry-lipped waiter.
The cloth of his suit is a small territory
where lost children sparkle like war medals.

Crisp as New Jersey, a widow eyes
a gray patch in sunlit sky. Next door,
next door, November — the wind
sways plastic bones in small circles.

Halloween hangs by its neck
over a tarp-covered pool.
Its beak beckons
the back-and-forth grass.

Julian, girl on his lap,
can feel the velvet shape
of her vagina shifting.
In a strange tongue,

the crash recites the girl.
Sunlight pierces the sound
of branches reaching for Julian’s face.
It shields him like a war cry.