"Royal decree: no leaving me," she said
into the grass, to the silver beetles,
small and shuddering on the yellow leaves
like specks of graphite. She folded herself

under a hill of green tulle and pulled dark
twigs from the waves in her
hair to pile over her
ribs. She had to stay
still, but I touched her shoulder
and she shifted, and the twigs

fell. I remember peeling apart
flat helicopter leaves for the sap.
I peeled the button out of the fabric
behind her neck and my lips
were dry, coarse as I carved just her
name into the bark of a young tree.