Nuts for Christmas

You’d taken something father said and
Went under the floorboards.
We smelled something smoldering like Christmas nuts in shells,
and it smelled so good, but they weren’t on the coffee table in their bowl.
When we found you in your huddle,
the sweetling scent of your scorched arm made me vomit.
And you looked at me like, of all the people to not get it,
I was your unwanted present.

The year before I remember you enthused at my enthusiasm
about my Siamese Fighting Fish.
“Do you know how to tell the girl from the boy?”
“Does the boy have a penis?”
The whole family told you to fuck off with gasps.
“Noooo!” I said, but I did blush.
But, “How, then?” you asked.

I couldn’t save you the same way this time.
You had walnuts stuck to your skin,
and the almond you were picking at was peeing off flesh.
Clearly, clearly, I tried to sex the nuts,
Come up with some quip to make laughter,
To laugh on Christmas Eve.

Ambulance sirens can’t be funny,
nor the second last time I hugged you.



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