A SMALL STONE

Not everyone could see the problem beneath his smile
Caught in the throat a small stone an ossification
Secretions of notions he couldn’t swallow whole
Phrases in lost languages of the heart the gut
Stuck sentiments he couldn’t cough up hardening
Layer by layer where resistance hadn’t earned its name
In his litany of hours so he was surprised when the surgeon
Her long black dress open at the knee dancing
Over his chest twisted the arc of truth open in the air
Till the light came in shining blinding after the ordeal
He unfurled his fingers from her hair his eyes exhausted
Dimmed and wet a sense of loss as he peered
At the round thing he’d allowed to grow its fissures
Veins where pieces of mountain coral hazelroot
And kukui nut shell stitched themselves together
Flecks of gold belonging to some ancient promise
Arousing a pang of remorse the nurse came in
Offering uisce but he thought she’d said whiskey
And shook his head wai she said agua and beneath
His smile the waterfall made its thundering way
To the churning pool where he stripped and followed

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