Separation

Sliced until the tip is sharp,
the bamboo stalks prick
through the supine victim’s skin

like a patient stitch, still sprouting.
Cradled in the low belly of a boat
the intended’s lips crust with milk
and honey, the only sound the hum and buzz
of insects picking at

soft bowels and softer flesh.
When the drop hits, the pain
is a relief. The art is in the moment before,
the water’s slow squeeze like a fist

hovering above the stalagmite of brow.
Your goodbye is a flimsy reed,
a toy canoe, a child’s sigh,
an insult to the artists I survived before.

— Lauren Bullock

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