Skin Petals

These are the fragile petals from the last Spaniards’ shirts
before the gold drove them mad.
Mother had to strip the blood orange sun from their heads
and sprinkle blooms over their skulls.
She took the bloom from their roses and fists.
Carefully pulled each one apart until they covered our table.
She squeezed them, we rubbed the extract
into the folds of our turquoise skin.
They were plucks of skin petals floating in cold water
while their bones mixed with the sugar and flour
of a hundred-handed god,
forever stranded in the dough of heaven.

SY HOAHWAH, Comanche/Arapaho, received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas. He has two poetry collections, Night Cradle (USPOCO Books, 2011) and Velroy and the Madischie Mafia (West End Press, 2009). He is a recipient of the National Endowment for Arts Literature Fellowship.