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Family Portrait with Ancestors

— Golden

have you ever sliced through a watermelon
wound & watched your family suck all the red out?
Twin tends to the rind, Mom salivates salt & guards

the seeds. Dad beats the bleeds out of our t-shirts.
Cam brings pails of bleach & hot holy water
to raw rinse the deck. we all knife our wound’s smile

until summer gives us our childhood back—
this is how we vacation. backyard carcasses

& lobotomies. it’s all we have time for. grief
candies our hands when we clean god’s cadavers

alone. it’s triggering

the way the fruit of all countries fall to the back
of our throats & fly back up

black & familiar. my family

says there are shields hidden in our palms
when we hold each other’s forks.

I think they mean all scars (that)
feed us—even love–even red

tears can be a weapon
or prayer if you don’t let the water free.


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