It's raining again and the trees are trying the stations of the cross, thrashing themselves and each other in some punishing ecstasy. They can't help themselves. They were designed to bow and cut. Don't stand close to me. I am a tree, too.

He used to take pictures of me, you know. Not dirty ones, but the kind that will make you nervous when a new employer says he'll have to do a background check. It wasn't really scary. Once you get your clothes off, you get used to the feel of the air on your skin, it's like you're wearing the sky.

He didn't hurt me. Well, I don't think of it that way, anyway. He didn't beat me. I think I really did like it then, the attention, and he was trying to help me.

He would tell me "Jane, Jane, look over at the window, I want to catch the light on your neck." He was really an artist, I think. He didn't show me the pictures, but he was so focused. And he always called me Jane. I used to get so mad about that. I'd say "That's not my name, Leo, my name's Fioraorsola," but he thought it was too long of a name and he could never get the rhythm right. I sort of think he called all of the girls Jane, so he wouldn't have to remember.

Already I miss our mornings, his slow awakenings,
his perspiration smells and hair thick
like fistfuls of dark wire in my hands.
For breakfast he liked soggy, soggy oatmeal,
water-puffy and milk-drowned,
not at all the best-tasting & dry-sugared paste
I make for myself from the same packets,
with so little water a cactus would complain.
Even though my preferences are the eccentric ones,
I still find his favoured preparation dubious,
still frown a little to think of those bowls of pale mush.

Yet, despite this, I liked to cook it for him,
bowlfuls bowlfuls of the strange, wet stuff,
to carry it up to his yellow bedroom on tiptoes,
careful not to slosh, to prod him awake
while it steamed on the bedside table,
brown cinnamon dust spackling the topflood of white milk.

And the way he ate it: that, also, I liked.
Too hungry to be civil, more slurp than spoon,
making me feel new-Sunday-morning blessed
to have done an indisputable Good Thing
by proferring the bowl of oatmeal
whose reception would make jealous
even the Manna of the Israelites.

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