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You said abundance would not harm me,
but none of your songs could stop

the god-awful fullness of the moon.
Even the plague ended in feast,

birds chirping fat and happy
in their nests. I tried other oceans,

climbed a volcano to look inside
the earth, walked to the edge

of the sinkhole that swallowed a city.
My freedom only made me more afraid.

I’m not sure there is any world
but this one, and the mango’s sweetness

is terrible to me. Some days the fire is a mirror.
Some days I can bear the stillness of elk

when I surprise them in the alder.
Yesterday I cleaned bones out of the boat

and met a child on the shore. He made a gun
out of his hand. No one taught him this.

He raised his arm, fingers leveled
at my heart. You said I could contain it,

this gift. The boy told me I could keep
the boat. The bones were his.

Traci Brimhall, “envoi”