by Meridith Gresher

Absolution: that word is a poultice of aloe and oatmeal
for days birthed on sorrow and burnt like forgotten skin
on an overcast day. The sky comes to sting as a surprise
across the back, as burden. Shoulders blister
pained by garments worn by choice and inheritance.
Cotton is no kinder than steel wool. At the thought of clothes,
the body's largest organ shudders,
wanting a cool bath a wet cloth an ice cube
across the blades sharp. No more days deep in grass and clover.
Luck what little there is to claim. In the known world,
better to get on your knees and ask for grace than face the sky alone

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