my grandmother knew it all.
How it shows first as a fever and
can be proven by a rash beneath the tongue
or the path blood takes when the palm is pricked.
How it can be cured with a dose of hot chili oil
and a poultice of walnuts and egg whites
rubbed on the feet.
After Aunt Rebecca was found
under the overpass with
nothing but her body and a note full of
love, my grandmother checked my armpits,
the backs of my knees, for bites. She
warned me, bella, keep your head,
it’s better to live your whole life
loveless, but I did not believe her.
Ever since you pressed me
beneath the mimosa tree, the pink
tufts of flower, the broken light,
your broken breath so full
of love and “shush, shush,” I picture Rebecca
suspended above the highway. I like
to think that someone saw her
silhouette like a bud on a bough,
and thought how lovely
she will be in bloom.