Nina Puro

Do Not Touch or Photograph

My sister sends me an envelope 
with an ocean inside, buries 
lit candles beneath her floorboards.  Nights, 
we’d curl up in the cab of the propane truck 
our grandpa drove, listen to the static

between radio stations instead of speaking 
or going inside. I cut words into 
the plaster of my closet wall, waited for light 
to knife under the door. Our room ripped 
along the line of duct tape to split on either coast. This 

is why we always carry lighters, now: the possibility 
of a spark. Our words smoke signals 
in Pig Latin. Childhoods water 
seeping under a closet door. My sister 
sends me photographs undeveloped, 

but we both know what they are. I bury them 
in my floorboards for her to light 
with the candles under hers. My dad 
sends a slick of propane for me to pour 
into the ocean. I cut a door in the clouds.

I think of how I could go in. How 
it is an ocean, not formed yet. I call 
the door a mouth, teach it a language. 
I tell my sister I will meet her there, 
but neither of us goes.





Nina Puro’s work is forthcoming or recently appeared in H_ngm_n, Indiana Review, Prelude, the PEN America Poetry Series, Washington Square Review, and other places. A chapbook, Two Truths & A Lie, will drop from dancing girl press in 2015. She lives and works in Brooklyn.