by Natalie Marino
for my mother, Cindy Marlene Marino
tiger stripes made it halfway between wild animal and primordial tree. You cut into the red heart of its flesh and it called you from the Mexican summer, so hot that the rain rose above the street soon after it fell. You thirsted for its cool water even after you were warned of the dysentery. Now the butterflies start their migration to fields of flowers, leaving you alone. You think back to that season of quiet eating when no one needed to discuss the ends of evenings.
Natalie Marino is a poet, physician, and mother. Her work appears in Barren Magazine, Capsule Stories, Dust Poetry Magazine, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, Leon Literary Review, Literary Mama, Moria Online, and elsewhere. She also reads poetry submissions for Bracken Magazine. She lives in California with her husband and two daughters.