to begin in a knuckle
to be pushed
to begin as finger, elongating
into fingerless hand

to show one’s veins
as expertly as a face betrays
community, exclusion

to come up together, in the same scene
reassured by sameness
to be disdainful of the same

to strive to extend, bend, adapt
an expression in reaction to a scarce resource

to be bitten back
to harbor poison in response
to be made with fangs
evenly spaced at the perimeter

to not be touched by water
to give water away
to be backed in wax

to have eyes for a mouth
to inhale light
to point downward
to greet god with the turn
of one’s waxy back

to be pushed
to be the child, the language of bark

to fall, even when
the tree is evergreen
you are not
to be indelicately, dependably, replaced