We had been looking at an idol in a glass case,
size of a hand, admiring her tough little knobs
and the ball of her belly some barren woman
prayed to and rubbed. He said
she had been holding up her breasts
for eight thousand years.

Sun flickers through the pine trees,
my daughter beside me, we are crying
and holding each other, putting stones
on your daughter's grave.

After the flaming rib cage of the bus,
after each string of flesh has been found
and collected according to the Law,
after they show it and show it and show it
until we can smell the muck in our room
and the roasted skin, after the street
is washed clean with a blast of water,
and after the reading of the names,

there is absence, unreadable.