we faced the projection screen and opened our eyes
and the white surface lit up with an image of a girl
laying in the street with tread marks over her face.
we could sometimes choose what we wanted to show,
false memory that we lied with without ever having
to open our mouths, but mostly we showed the truth
for the sake of our mothers. gaping holes in the book-
shelves, a disembodied finger pointing at the front
door, all that hazel-colored rage and stomping heart-
beat egging on for pummeling. the odds were not
favorable. some things had been perfected, the art
of not leaving a mark, manipulation under angry
light. this was the last thing we would show before
our eyes would be sewn shut and the theater closed
for good: the words i never asked for this flashing
across a grainy stretch of pavement and the sound
of a car skidding away in broad daylight.
the quarries are closed. we sneak out a piece
of granite, hoping to remake ourselves, but we
only have enough to make half a head. out of one
side of our mouth we say we wish we had never
been born. venus de milo at least used to have arms.
we were never able to procure enough to make
suitable memories let alone appendages. we make
you out of sandstone so you would wear quickly
and evidence of our handiwork would not be found.
the wind is a curse and a blessing. effacement
never happens just the way we want it to.
we find that you can’t breathe life into a piece
of marble no matter how veined it is. someone
begins to throw rocks at us and we are grateful.
he breaks me like a pinata in the town square
children shove past one another to get the best
pieces, mouths slick with secrets, they laugh
and show small discolored teeth. back at the citadel
the clerk is stuffing coins into the lining of his underwear.
he walks out past the guards stiff as a mannequin so
there are no sounds of clinking. he smooths out
a crumpled picture of water and a sunset. some can
make their escape; others are trapped behind the gate.
the women in the walls wail for their lost loves, the king
wakes from a dream and silences them with a bang of his
fist. the children begin to disperse and he lifts my shattered
head gently in his hands, placing two gold coins over my
eyes though i am not dead, only sleeping.