Margaret Chula


                                            our heat-filled clothes
                                            on the riverbank
                                            we soak
                                            like smooth white stones

                                             windfall apples
                                             I cut away around bruises
                                             worms, skins and seeds
                                             now I know what it means
                                             to be rotten to the core

                                              how old are you now
                                              my father asks me
                                              and when I tell him
                                              his shoulders sag
                                              into the present

                                              late afternoon
                                              sitting in my garden
                                              of fragrant peonies
                                              I read Shiki's tanka
                                              aloud, in Japanese


                                               you sign your letters
                                               I write 'loving you'
                                               picking a scab on my cleavage
                                               I watch it bleed

                                                         first date―
                                                      at the Drive-in
                                                    a bag of popcorn
                                                       between them
                                              all those unpopped kernals










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