Provenance

Provenance

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There she was
in that lavender dress,
in that room,
in that apartment,
turning around
to answer
his fist
pounding that door
in the middle of that day
that must’ve been a day
in August,
the start of that season
when all around them,
all that could be
changed by violence
and violently changed,
the hills and the valley,
the canyons and the cliffs
tongue-kissed
by the Santa Ana,
burst into bright
seams of silver smoke,
and though it was
unclear how he burst
through that door,
why her dress fell
to that floor
like that flame and flash
lashing the bed-
straw and the sunflowers
until the flowers bent
their heads from the sun,
or what they saw
in each other
—who was whose
horse, rider, ride, reins, neck
pulled, pulling, arching, arched
back like the curves
of that wildfire’s hips,
that scorched hour
grinding into
the next, there,
in that room,
in that apartment—
my mother and father
became my mother and father
and, the next spring,
for the first time,
brought me home
through that entryway
that was neither
a way in nor a way out
of that violence,
that pounding,
that answer,
that turning around
to discover,
so clearly,
all that
would not change.

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