The air conditioner dies and he peers into it,
then, probes it with a hanger. Hot breath wades in
from the open window. We dab our sweaty brows
and look out on the barren playground. I imagine
the children, careening headlong down the slide
or hanging from the monkey bars, each child,
safe now—no hoods caught on branches,
no feet swinging, kicking. The oak sheds
pocked leaves, fever worming through its roots,
as flu tiptoes from one flushed child to another,
mucus creaking in their small chests.
I dreamed my niece's burns healed
in beautiful swirled scars. I dreamed we knelt
beside the garden plot, and, my hand guiding hers,
we drew a circle in the soft topsoil.
She said the moon's face is patched skin.
I worry for those who don't pray in the careless world
where someone's always bleeding, and there's nothing
I can do. I wash and dry each knife,
slipping each blade into the