I am a childless mother 
who teaches teenage boys tenderness. 
             I lose them in malls 
             and to life sentences. 

I shop online for a skeleton key.
             I repeat their names until 
             I find one that will unlatch my fear.

We play out stale loops with concrete checkers.
the games always end with a draw 
until I meet Judah. 
             He is hungry for the moon 
             and ultraviolet hues. 

We look past the expanding chicken wire. 
We clasp the air between our fingerpads 
as we cradle nuance, 
             reimagine utopia 
             and recycle burnt narratives.

He says this place is a perfect purgatory. 
             That we are smashed between His gates 
             and the fallen angel’s reluctant home. 

I say we are orphaned as we speak silently with god.
             He lives in rivers lined with sempervirens. 

We find presence shaped like flexed feet. 
             Headstands tethered to the purpose of our expiration.

Judah tells me to write down his name. 
             I fold it like origami and stitch it in my collar
             next to our familiar and distant kin.

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