by Bee Ulrich
yes, i’ll admit to watching you
in the courtyard, from the balcony:
the way you lean into your sword
on the whetstone, and the way you lean
your father thinks the only man to lay you down
on the thick moss will have a knife in your gut.
bring your neck here, bring your chest here.
tell him these are sparring bruises.
here the pine needles will fall
on us one by one, & our fingers will curl
like roots around each other as they grow.
by morning i will scrub my hands raw
pulling sap from your cloak.
over the city wall the smoke churns
and rises like the gray limb
of a revenant. man made fire.
when the last ember sputters, coughs, winks out
the trees will be as god turned them from clay.