When I heard the shower turn on in the bathroom
I put my novel down and waited for my eyes to readjust
It was a good place to pause because the dog
Who was kidnapped from the Japanese embassy
Had just washed ashore and I had to think about that
I had trouble understanding why they killed the dog unless
In the process of stealing it they had accidently twisted its neck
I had once crushed a bird when I was trying to save it
It was in my pocket when I climbed down from the roof
But there were just lumps of feathers and a terrible softness
I had to tell the girl looking at me, whipping my hands
That her bird had turned into a cloud and it was way happier that way
And then we realized that it had rained all morning and now
There were no clouds and the girl asked me about the blood
On my clothes and I said that someone had shot me
Because they thought I was trying to break into their house
And then she ask me if I was trying to steal something
And I said yes that there was a rare painting that I wanted to take
Because it had been in my family for a very long time
And that my grandfather had pawned it to feed his cattle
But when he was in his sickbed he clutched my forearm
And told me that he would never truly rest until that painting
Hung above my head and when the nurse came into the room
She told us that he was going to go into a very long field
That looked like a hallway and he was going to watch the branches
Pass over his head and it was important for him to notice the clouds
That will sometimes appear through the trees
And I asked her if the braches would sometimes drop wilted petals
Yes she said and then I noticed that her dress was torn
And I when asked if she had snagged it on a low branch she responded no
That a patient grabbed her as he was falling off the bed
She adjusted a framed poster of a couple of perfect looking clouds
“You are now entering a place of peace,” It read
And from the other side of the curtains that divided the room
We heard someone coughing up blood

Every clipboard that was handed to us was handed to us willingly
Every laudation, every letter of recommendation we received
We waded up and threw into a metal waste basket
When our immigrant mother wove us a regal maroon cloak
We wore that cloak over our rec basketball jerseys
And pulled down a pair of contested rebounds
The intercourse we heard through our walls sounded to us
Like the dribbling of a basketball on a gravel driveway
In the throes of unmitigated suffering our hands palmed
A basketball as if it were the stomach of our pregnant cousin
We chain smoked butts in the shade of our garage
The same garage we mounted a hoop to
Unknowingly repeating what our father said
Things can always get better and things can always get much worse

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