You tell me all the good leaked out of you a long time ago.
So I shouldn’t expect much.

Where you’re from salt shrubs stick to the earth like scabs.
Where I’m from green is a shelter.

When I leave your house in the mornings
there is a bowl of almonds on the coffee table.

The front porch is painted gray and a white magnolia tree
blooms next to where I park my car.

Its leaves and petals sprawl like arms in sleep.
It’s been five months.

You tell me self-sacrifice is the highest honor.
I carry my toothbrush out in a sandwich bag.

KIRSTEN ABEL is a writer from Steilacoom, Washington. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and currently lives in Seattle. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Barely South Review, Two Peach, Leveler Poetry, Catamaran Literary Reader and elsewhere.