When you take a hero’s stance at the edge
                    of so much broken glass, remember the first time:
your body fresh pummeled between rubber and snow,

                    a thicket of rats for your shroud. Little brother, scrape
the moonlight from your throat.                You’ve ossified with slaughter.
                    At your side, three bellies soft for bleeding.

How many nights did you make unwitting toy
                    chest your funeral pyre, hungry to shake
the stubborn scales from their eyes—how many mornings

                    did you wake to frantic braille of vermin paws, a phantom
in the skritch of your sheets. What will you do, when you smash
                    cut to morning and their bones still hide in the road
                           the alley                      the pond–

their paper shields ripped and rippling underfoot. No.
                    Cloak yourself in shadow the same heft
as their forgetting and remember the way

you detonate smelling phosphate and curb.
                    Watch as you knit together again,
                                        that they might stay awhile to play pretend.