There are countless crooks in New York City
Hundreds of drunkards in the low-lit bars
Cripples in the gutters begging with stutters
A sticky sweet sauce that drips from the stars

She said her father died of cancer in the sixties
Her mother of scurvy during world war two
She said her brother got syphilis in a whore house
And on the night of his wedding his wife got it too

She said she didn't believe in bad karma
And she didn't think her family were cursed
She stressed that they were blessed to be so quickly at rest
That her long labored life was much worse

She only went out when I begged her
If she agreed she'd put her hair in a bun
Walked the streets as though walking through treacle
Rubbing sherbert from her eyes in the dip dab sun

She was statuesque but not particularly pretty
Looked absurd in the summer sunlight
Roman nose but lips like liquorice sticks
Dark and thin and tight

And one night I took her to some vegan place
We ordered drinks the color of blood
A strange mixture of plum and tomatoes
She said the flavor was not dissimilar to mud

So I laughed and ordered her something else
Something sunny and mellow and sweet
She sipped once, then coughed, then looked at the floor
I studied her face as she studied her feet

She said her father died of cancer in the sixties
I told her she'd told me before
She said her uncle caught polyneuritis at a party
Kissing with a nurse he'd met during the war

A step-sister who I never new existed
Was born with a cyst on her lip
A pulsing red thing that spread lower each day
Shedding the skin right down to the hip

She died on a Tuesday in the sunshine
Lying limp against the garden wall
Her step-mum was shocked into suicide
Her father had predicted it all

I watched as she spilled out these stories
Watched her eyes as they danced over mine
Watched her teeth as they tapped on her tongue
Watched her hands as they spun out a mime

She was lying, it was simple, it was obvious
Tragedies were never that long
Not an entire family of innocent martyrs
Not a simple uniformity of things going wrong

So I smiled as she told of her daughter
Still born in the back of a car
No petrol, no signal, no passers
The walk to Nevada still miles too far

I smiled as she talked of the silence
No crying, no wailing, no moans
I smiled as she told me she sat in the car
And watched her boyfriend dig the hole on his own

She said she watched him bury it in the burning sand
Under the sugar grains and the dead desert sky
And then I stopped smiling. And she stopped with the story.
And syrup poured out from our eyes

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