Six of my people in ten days, so I order six of the fifty-nine
packs of dangly silver earrings and make caprese salad from

thinly-sliced watermelon instead of tomato. No one can tell
me what death is because in death’s mansion the lights are off,

and we can’t read the manual in the dark. Inside the second-floor
bathroom, now, a small boy sits, depressing as a public restroom

urinal. I hand him a clock and a body piercing gun. He hands me
a mirror, which I use to apply foundation, contour, and concealer

to all the ill-digested news visiting my face as blemishes. Peace is on
a far shelf. The more earrings I have, the more I can afford to lose.



Melissa Studdard