Her scales, burnt and shredded and crisp and flaking
In their first,
Moments of untethered freedom.
Graceful in their destruction
Out of control
As they plummet
Towards the earth
As if making the poignancy of death last forever
Until kissing the velveteen soil
With all the eloquence of parted lips that never spoke.
All of this
Because she was waiting for eventually.
Because she knew the barefooted running days had to kick up some stones.
Because she knew the hands clasped so tight had to clam.
Because she knew August had to die.
Because August had to shrivel up inside her with the promises,
And the lingering eyelashes,
And the perfume-choked air,
And the knees stained green under the hem of a seersucker dress,
And the teeth like two Chiclets biting a mushed cherry lip,
And the sweating car windows,
And the unclasped button blinking,
And the trembled breath.
August was too hot a blaze to be kept.
She knew then with all those temptations
She could never keep the scales.
Her scales, rotten and moist and limp and mildewed
On their bare backs
Pondering when they were shaken loose
Her scales, littered like shrapnel
So that she could keep growing
from the newly soft earth.