blood on the dance floor (for Xoe Keri)

had to cut off that knotty hair

had to walk to the river, even with metal and sore

had to suck on dictionary for warmth

had to eat banana with salad dressing with pills for pain

had to warn sister about broken chair before the break

had to sleep away nightmares, granddad, dog bite

had to speak maori on friday to impress the american

had to sip raro of raspberry to wash down the night

had to cover eyes with hood of cotton to cut away the shy

had to smile when cat arrived

had to put away sharpener when long-distant tears dropped

had to listen to the earth, once it grew mouth big enough to remind you
to stay.

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