by Aaron C. Banks

Sister Mary-Catharine introduced the class to strange children by her side.
In an instant, I mouthed back the word, Kosovo. The embellished sounds
shaping their names, bottomless voices, hypnotizing breasts
because they were Southeastern European; a fifth-grade with teenage girls.

After a week, they were talking more. The one with the yellower teeth
developed a slight stutter, and she said she saw her cousin beheaded
before they fled the border.

I remember it being Fall, and when I got home
I stood by the cottonwood, where I whispered,
head chopped off and my voice remained there, among trees.

I went to bed thinking how I was sorry about her cousin,
but my cousin died in gun fire. If I could, I'd piece hers back together
if she knew the whereabouts of the head and body.

But first, I wanted to take her to Baltimore
to help me dig up Matthew, fix the holes in his chest,
and fill him with new blood.

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