by Toby Leah Bochan

    This poem is about a rhyme.
    It was written by a small white boy
    at school, at lunchtime.

    No. It is about a juniper tree
    that breaks its branches against a wind
    blasted from the blind
    bomb of Hiroshima. A Japanese
    woman wrote it. Or was it your mother

    who wrote this poem
    where all sounds echo as if
    as if you read it, said it aloud around in a round,
    like a nursery rhyme, a crime

    that a prisoner wrote this poem
    on the walls of his lifetime sentence?
    who could blame him, his penitence
    was far greater than his hunger
    for more than crusts and water?
    his lust for his daughter

    made her crazy and mute
    she spends her time in this poem
    in the white space within words
    and between the lines, the fine
    hairline that keeps the words from spilling

    out from the edge, this ricepaper page
    that keeps this candy sweet poem fresh
    the old Chinese man who wrote this poem
    says you can eat the paper too

    eat the words, lick
    the ink and stick it on in an envelope
    the postman may deliver this poem
    without postage ? or he may take his poem hostage
    a captive within his blue coated breast

    the birds sang this poem
    every morning out your childhood window
    you hummed this poem in the shower
    before you knew a melody
    there was music
    and you found this poem buried
    in the black guitar case
    of your body, a lyric from when you used to play

    in the streets in the heat of the summer
    the Spanish boys unscrewed the bolt of a hydrant
    and wrote this poem with their bodies,
    the rhythm of the water
    bursting against their hot torsos
    made them virtuosos, the sidewalk
    is tattooed with the shadows

    of tarot cards, stories of the two world wars
    that your grandmother gave you, each labeled like her apple
    jam jars with a poem, the shelf in your basement
    practically a tome of her chickenscratch
    handwriting, a single verse
    that stretches from ceiling to floor

    to the door that leads out of this poem
    the rectangle opening that signals the end
    of this bending line that I tried first
    to draw straight  -- but the poem
    couldn't wait -- It's about time,
    it tells me. It's about time.

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