the head of a [Batavian tear] can withstand impact with a small hammer …
but the tail can be broken with just finger pressure leading to catastrophic disintegration
—Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics
Hold flame to sand and it lusters into glass.
Hold flame to glass and it surrenders
a drop, elegant and brimming
as a tear. If caught early enough
in water, it curls densely into itself: a dazzling
little knuckle the color of breath.
Those final gasping days, cancer
pearled on her lungs, even then
she must have thought she wouldn’t die—
clean laundry unfolded, leftovers in the fridge,
in an empty bedroom an open window,
afternoon swelter pouring in. From the hardened
drop a tail unlaces like ribbon,
thinning delicately to an end. Touch it,
everything erupts into dust.
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