Leap Year

When she shares her secrets, you might judge
her for loss of time—staccato memories, recounting
calamity with the hush of a sparrow’s last breath,

her lungs emptied of prayers after a stuttering
of darkness, shadows lurking in the corner of her eyes.
Don’t worry about the scars on her skin, the long

tear of her body’s broken wing, the forever stain
of bruises on the tops of her feet, bones snapped
and butterflied, stapled back together like a robot

in a child’s toybox, there are stiches for torn flesh,
titanium plates for jagged bones, but how to give back
the unbrokenness—make her whole again?

And when she wakes at night her mind powerless
to her body’s recall, she will tell you, it’s nothing.
She will pick feathers from her pillow and try to make

a nest for sleeping. A safe place to cushion
the restlessness of unsaid pain. She isn’t quite the same,
her writing a scribble, a nervous twist of cursive,

a quill paralyzed with despair. On a bad night,
her husband will hold her still, there, there, he’ll say
and bend her tremors towards him, to the soft hollow

of his core, close her eyes, and whisper a fairy’s song
in her ear. She feels safe when he’s near. But now
and then the darkness murders her once more,

betrays her sense of calm, and a killing takes place
until she opens her eyes when she’s like a book
without a name, a handful of pages ripped

from the middle. That’s the problem
with almost dying, it keeps happening
again, and again and again.

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