by Chloe Martinez
The last few leaves on the amber tree: see
the light in them, golden, in which you are seen.
The year you lived with a girl named Amber.
You didn’t know her well. You were each other’s witness.
You hear third-hand what’s happening to your friend.
You rend garments in your head, witless.
That one party: had she not carried you home,
she could have been called to the stand as witness.
The last time you saw him he tried to explain to you
he was dying. You wouldn’t, you couldn’t yet see it.
For Christmas your daughter gets a chunk of amber,
a scorpion inside like she wished for. She eyes it.
Remember your mirrorless year, when you got a little fat,
took three lovers and bloomed, saw yourself wide-eyed?
Grandpa’s wake: you and your cousins jumped in the pool
in your black dresses. Honored him. Made the living look.
Will it be like that, when the time—you admit it now—
arrives? Is there a right thing to do, a pool to jump into?
You were made for this, shameful or not: to stand
at the side with your eyes and look, and look.