Monday, July 16, 2018
Bridges have fallen from less.  
And boats        bicycles           train tracks      the buckle 
on our suitcase       the grinder gears beneath 
my grandfather’s left hand. 
I want to know more
about your past, I said to him 
over dessert. Yeah? Me too. He looked away and picked 
at something stuck between his teeth, used 
the pointer finger on the hand that still has one.
It must have smelled of iron then, the gap 
between his thumb and pinky where 
the blade churned bone where oxygen and water ran 
nine stiches          maybe ten          a bridge between the palm and dorsal 
skin never meant to meet the other side of skin.   
He’s never told me how it happened.    
I don’t know                    how to ask. 
He hasn’t starved in decades, but that’s all he wants 
to tell me.          Hunger            birds            searching for bread  
boys searching       for birds searching          for bread         
onions in oil     brined fish       a potato, maybe            certainly,        always 
potatoes      no yeast         no fruit                an onion 
serves as both        and bridges have fallen                  without it 
and no one         lifted a finger                                                     or noticed. 
He likes to retell the first time 
he thought he saw a mandarin. 
Its porous ocher shell giving way 
under the pressure of his touch,  
the orb so big and singing, he could barely wrap it 
in all ten fingers. It was like holding
the sun. He said and cupped the air.
I don’t ask when he could last interlace 
the fingers on both hands and pray 
for citrus. But maybe our sun really is 
surrounded by a solid iron surface. 
As grandfather bit down into the rind, 
he must have tasted solar flares 
until he heard somebody laugh. 
The lemon’s oil turned acid rust
against his tongue, left only iron, the last 
refusing to collapse when a star dies. 
Monday, July 16, 2018