Her hands work the fold of my arm until
the vein is brown, rolled flat beneath
her massive thumbs. Skin goes from brown
to pink, blue and the pain lessens everywhere
else, but I still can’t swallow.
This hurts me more than it hurts you.
Mala, she grunts, and takes tomatoes
out of the lidded pot. The acid disinfects
the swollen glands inside the throat.
This is her cure. Her hand to my face,
she says Mout. I say no, It’s better. Bien Bien.
But she’s already in.
We’re just so different.
The hemisphere of green rubs the sores
open, then rips. Skin drops like sweat
off the tangy meat and scalds my palate,
tongue following through the butterflied glands,
open in her fingers. Vomit and blood mix
into a celery and salt lick juice.
Bile, like bile I cry, but she’s not done.
Hit, hit, or I no finish she says past my head and.
I see stars made of paper,
their arms pinched, freckled in pink
arils, and I see myself everywhere,
fractured on the floor of a broken
kaleidoscope , the no in my mouths
open like whole moons as one by one
the stars grow fire, dance inside
and I finally swallow.