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In the courtyard

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In the courtyard

One corner of the courtyard is a pet cemetery, 
where my brother and I bury a starfish we stole 
from the sea. It dies after three days in a yellow 
bucket under the bougainvillea. We tip the water out, 
eventually, and watch as the starfish curls up on the rocks. 
Its five gray arms curl in, crusty and dry, they pull
towards the center of the mouth in the star. Looking in, 
we see hairs clumped together, like teeth
around the edge, and the little dark hole beneath. My brother
finds a snakeskin, and we bury that, too. We make little crosses
of palm leaves and place
them in the dirt, above
the sacred.

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