For Dani Stringer

Staccato tally marks on your leg…

I was afraid you were cutting yourself

But you’re merely counting syllables of poetry lines

And they remind me of the time a student used soap

To write algorithms and formulas in Greek on my windows.

I mourned scraping off the math with a razor.

It was too pretty to erase but I wanted to see the snowflakes someday turn to

Flower petals.


On your thigh is a perfect symmetry of fours and fives,

Little lines, perfect poetic slashes made with a marker.

Nothing violent.

Only loveliness,

Much like the little girl-woman who used to inhabit my classroom

And would let me plait your hair while we talked about diction,

Syntax, and poetry.


I miss the girl who sings Disney songs in the snow beside a fountain that is frozen.

Or maybe the fountain isn’t there….my memory escapes me much like everything else.

But my memories of the texture of your smile, the shriek of your giggles when

I threatened to tickle you are so intact, I could weave them into

A poem and put it in your hands.

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