It is perhaps three in the afternoon
and the children are playing —
gathered in the curve of the neighborhood,
the sweep beneath a hill.
They drag out boxes of chalk,
grating color into dark concrete
and their fingerpads.
They wave bubble wands.
They swarm and flap
their arms, shuffling out a
She stands still.
She clips her nails in her mouth
until a swell of blood flushes out
from the bed,
a swell of salt; and the other children
are still throwing
handfuls of bubbles into the sky,
spinning out over the roofs —
bubbles shivering in the wind, quavering
and lurching incandescent insides,
suds bursting across her face —
her lips around her thumb.