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

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.

Latest posts by Naomi Mulvihill (see all)