for Coral Bracho

In increments enunciated (Oh) within
         where the meanings (in increments) lie
bare (she says) (Oh, to her friend)

         who is watching (I am watching) a cat slink
(while we walk) keeping pace with us
         through the fenestrated walls (adobe) of

a ruined house (Oh, this finger) in the village
          where she grew up (her accent
makes clear) This finger, she says,

         delighted, holding it up,
has a heart in it! (Pulse.)
         And thinking I don’t see (the friend), she

takes (from her purse) a toothpaste tube
         (purse open) as she walks (we walk)
(where’s the cat?) along the dirt

         road between (adobe) walls she
squeezes toothpaste
         on her finger (with its heart) and smears

it (looking away) against her upper
          and (still looking away) lower teeth
then touches me (with her breath)