The Dying Girl & The Date Palm

Come find me under the black persimmon tree    Mama
where prayers bear wrinkled fruit     bear messages home

Come tend me at sunrise    like sweeping
a grave    offering fresh tortillas

rolled each morning    menudo steaming on the stove   
My patch of yellowing in the grass    my lungs culling holes

in the sweet so close to my palms I can nearly grasp    
What does a mouth hold but secrets     What tongue in mine

What bone-handled crotch & tissue paper wadded to staunch
the bleeding     The boy on the bicycle called my name    pulled

it from my mouth like meat from the seed &
his older brother with a truck     A hole in the floorboard   

A hole in the world    
                                       Persimmons call themselves stories

of the gods     Mama    did you also wake into the mythical  
I mean    raise yourself    hold the cast of yourself  

bones splitting as moonstones    as midnight    undone   
Leaves fall across my eyes     Mama     come find me before I bloom

From Girl with a Death Mask (Indiana University Press, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Jennifer Givhan. Used with the permission of the author.