nine lives

midnight was three, of course
he had to be
a quick black triangle
darting out the door
almost as fast as my mother did
earlier that year

i didnt blame him
if my legs could carry me as swiftly
i would have run just as readily
just as unprepared
into a world so quick
to extinguish excitement

the police would come
accusing us as we buried him
flashlights and guns
so eager to extinguish my grief
that i forgot i had any
left only with a box-shaped hole

daybreak was twenty, of course
midnight’s sister
crushed over and over by time
and mistreatment
and illness
it was miracle she survived at all

when she re-entered my care
and her womb ruptured
she was as surprised as i was
that she remained alive
that having attention paid to her
was all she needed to stay

and so through sickness
and blindness
and fear
she held tight to life
knowing herself lucky
to have anything to hold at all

dusk was fifteen, of course
clever, and friendly
and too sweet, by far
such that he could not abide
his own sweetness
so we managed it for him

not content to be extinguished
or to be ignored
he took up space in a way i envied
voiced desire in a way i lacked
gave affection in a way i admired
made the loudness of his existence known

he made each of his nine lives felt
each of his eight miracles
and went without question
with no box-shaped hole
or tightly-held fear to hold him
slipping away as peacefully as his namesake

and still,
we have dawn