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Commandment Ten


I love your eyes

they look like mine

they are dead

without design


And first comes first

second mission

this young breath

or hardened tail, this sort of

alabaster piece of history

standing tall on or around it



The first step and is it wandering?

The first hiccup, drawing out wonder

in the shape of a rabbit’s ear, a small

mole. the heart of a gutted deer

thrown to the underbrush

blood smell for darker.


I love your eyes

they’re dead like mine

uncurtained, hollow

to a white stone wind


Here is the first path, followed

commandment ten

swallowing wind: thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s husband


too true, blue shoe


And boundless and bountiful

like far fields

I see us stretched under a horizon

that knew us

in different bodies

your name, still Brian

I had another name

my hair was dark

so was yours

and you were taller than me

but you were

still you


Oh parade of glad tidings

she sings to the salty,

North Philly air,

the shade of a shire

some fragments of an image

in an Ikea catalog

this is called

a life.


(in the shallows

I heard you whisper

a quiet cut in a finger

it told me to tell you

these things)


Sun, moon, sun, moon

and the answers someone

called God gave in the reeds

that whistle at the lake

At Sodus Bay, where the white bellies

of sunfish float up around the dim banks


I wonder about you, where you grew up

not the town, but

what sorts of grasses, breezes, lonelinesses

Why did you work so hard

why was it so important

to tell me you were special

-Nina Alvarez


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