a freckled nurse drawn in pencil,
Two Pentacles for eyes. she works
with children over Five. Wands
for girls. follow the words.
one without tonsils prefers
scepter, thin cardboard books
of Kings. Cups of melting sherbet
drip milky bedside drops.
the nurse comes to work
with Ten Swords. the boys will read.
A Hermit in hospice upstairs takes
Two Cups of tea at three
but at Three Wanders halls.
Two Cups of tea get cold.
he sees a nurse holding Ten Swords.
slipping past he plucks.
a red room, ten boys, ten books,
plastic toys. Nine Swords.
this boy cries the words
down at his book in blots.
he’s with his mother in their kitchen.
he stares like an ant called Justice
scurries across the linoleum of his page.
upstairs a man is slashing words in air:
they want to eat the fruit from the bowl of my ribs.
have you read? what have you learned? my heart
is locked in the constant battle twang of Two Swords.