Ginkgo leaves seem adequate; they nibble at your
toes in the autumn, next to those stinky pellets
I used to jump over as a child.
Nobody would miss their feeble crinkle
or collective plead for attention
if I were to gather them up and press them
the pages of a hefty history book
Here, laid by the past century’s war criminals
and there, touching cheeks with an obscure modern
inventor, a dried-up and lifeless stem
or two. There, the torn edge of a yellowing leaf,
flat against an unfeeling statistic or two.
And here. The Korean woman says in her testimony
“there’s no bone here,” pointing where a soldier
broke her wrist
when she refused to wreck her soul bloody
for his body.
When they flit out of the pages they are somehow
heavier. Like that guilt-ridden letter I wrote
to a boy I thought I might love. I scratch stories
onto the papyrus surfaces. Trampled conversations,
broken skateboards and luggage
lost in transit. These are not
meant to last, but they will fade
That explains why we are all holding blades
to the throats of our loved ones, and the dearer the person,
the sharper the blade. Or simply
softer the throat. It’s explained by stories
scrawled onto Ginkgo leaves. Reminders
of wrist bones that are forever missing.
Rolled up and slid into the cartridge
they make tender bullets.
That is how I would shoot
and in the point-blank hush of the heart
I would aim to kill.