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

or two.


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.