Cousins in this prison town bloated with step

relatives and time, you and I grew cynical

and fifteen. Grandmother, slightly punctured

by forgetting, a slow leak, sank backwards

into the rumpus room couch and clucked

her tongue at obscenity, a six-story Underdog.

From her unkept garden we picked a moldy

squash. We pierced its custard-colored flesh


with the wood-stems of two Moon Travelers

laced with sawdust from the Fourth of July,

fuses twisted like thin vines. Who has not

sinned. Flecks of squash on your upturned

face. Grandmother mumbled a dinner table

grace to the deities of can-mold cranberry.

One bows one’s head. Three oval seeds fell

to your plate from the loose curls of your hair.


Originally published in Sycamore Review