by her body broken by childbirth
but that he didn't get
to stretch that skin.
In all relations
where "I'll give you X
if you give me Y,"
X and/or Y are always
or their conglomerate:
On any given Thursday
you could dig through his wallet
and find the contents
of at least three fortune cookies.
He's collected them, unofficially
since the age of eighteen.
Our fates are scribbled in pidgin English
and rest on a shelf
collecting dust and threats of dead men.
In direct defiance of the Surgeon General's warning
he's renouncing the curse of the Human Condition.
"In what war has that officer earned his stars?" he asks.
The standing answer follows.
A cricket tunes its legs.