Touch me where it hurts. He shivers when you drag him
out of the water, he says remember? but the water is sand again

in your dreams, a desert along the Nile. Touch me where it hurts the most.

His body a sack of rice, his body he gives up to your hands
where he thinks of penance in the room next door. Soft,

and light. The little grains that you throw to the morning birds
he gathers them up like sin. Inside them, he says, is something

that may kill. The fetus in the womb, the burning child. Does that
hurt? you want to ask him, but you already know the quiet shaking

of his head. I like the ember, he tells you. All things igniting, the sand, and
the embryo,
the embryo buried underneath the sand, the ember above them,

that sequence. His feet scraped, his knees bent. A child with eyelids
swollen and always. He wants to run, but he does not want to run from you,

he wants to run, but outside the land is only sand. In your dreams, his fist is
always on his body, always towards the places that yearn to be held. Come here,

then you say, and you touch him hurtless and he turns to ashes before the fire,
and your hands are holding his grains, your hands

are holding the places.