When I worked in an orphanage a boy
          came to harvest sugar cane in what
          he’d worn to work the street at a beach resort.
          His bunkmates picked up volcanic rock
          I later learned geologists call scoria—a word
          whose root gives us slag, drek
          and excrement. At the field’s edge,
          they stoned him. I see his diminishing blue,
          still, the turbulence of his dress as he ran.
          Out of jealousy or boredom they
          also killed each other’s adopted strays.
          Then, I didn’t know what it was to wake
          in a woman’s bed and enter the world
          sure her touch must show on my skin.

 
 
 
 
 
NAOMI MULVIHILL is a Poetry Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in CutBank, New Orleans Review, Iron Horse Literary Review and others.