If afraid, cured leather & wood-smoke. If forgotten,
sassafras & hominy. If remembered,
bright blue hook. If bereft, lamb

sizzling. If rupture, obsidian &
chickweed. If suture, sleep curled around

a pine tree. If surge, puddle of milk. If shadow,
puddle of gasoline. If gender, shadow hurtling
overhead. If gender, dream in a language

you don’t know. If gender, swim
parallel to shore. If morning, sunspots

& black pepper. If mourning, black
spot on a lung. If harvest, blood
sport & blood work.

If language, cracked
branches. If ghost, funeral suit worn
thin at the knees. If rainstorm, core

of candle. If closeness, death wish & warm
dram. If addict, human. If addict, suture

& nuzzle. If caught out, folly
and muzzle. If walk, decade of
tiny crosshatches. If ruby glass, pick out

the stitches with your teeth.
If itch, reorganize the sky.
If itch, dropped stitch & chipped

saucer. If blackout, cinnabar
& fallout shelter. If walk, keep walking.”
— Nina Pura, “Prescription”

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