by Ryan Pratt

By the upstairs rail    framed
between pinstripes, I’d cradle
your infant stand-in; camisole-pinned
in sheets clashing pink hues
you grew to hate    follicles that blessed
a steady blackening
she smiled through.

Canvas    its recesses trusted to time
and dark ribbons fraying
for eyelashes, spilling down locks;
nobody spoke
on the masterpiece anonymous.

I’d never wanted children, far less
putty I’d bruise in palm,
still their char-burnt eyes assembled,
beaming cheeks orbiting a coda
I’d committed reckless
to your parents’ ivories.

Ghost notes    fits in signature
as you dabbled the crescent moon
of your powder kit.