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honestly, it just happened out of nowhere
the neighbors plucked the boy from the cleft of a peach
wiped off the vernix of pollen, kissed his peach pelt fontanelle
softer than bruised fruit, they said, and that was it
you’d never know how many times she slept with her belly in the dirt
feeding the roots a steady stream of peach prayers

then there’s my sister, remember her? mouth like a knife wound
she swallowed a snowflake!
total accident
now she has a girl with snow-spun hair with a kiss so cold you’ll catch your death

with my cousin’s wife, it was planned
she leaned out a window one winter and spat on a raven
now the kid has a beak to match, bless

my grandmother was a bear, you know, so that’s probably why
crocuses in her jaw
salmon scales on her chest
they said the secret was blackberries

have you tried blackberries?

try not to stress, but make sure you fish out your want
like a skeleton drawn out
from the soup of your heart
the best broth for wish children

adjust the various seasonings to taste
every pressed-glass grin, every catch in your throat,
every stray twinge that coils in the empty nest of your pelvis
that you think, might, perhaps, could—

try the blackberries, first
if that doesn’t work, you can do what my brother’s friend’s cousin did
she spoke a whole year without vowels
kept a poultice of stars strapped to her hip
such commitment, you know, to chisel out a star each night
to take a blade and forge it
from the scraps of all your expired hopes
and each month
hurl yourself to the hunt and harvest of miracles

Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning children’s book author of the Pandava, Gilded Wolves, and Star-Touched series. Her adult debut, The Last Tale of the Flower Bride, is forthcoming from William Morrow in 2023.
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8 Aug 2022

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