You can't see it til it's already too late.
Already the bucket let down the well,
the piano behind your teeth plinking.
The hunger for it, gnawing the corners
of the bed. Aspirin in the oatmeal
hidden in the milk. Your hands so cold
the birds won't land, won't even lend
themselves to story.
Pain is beautiful, like lavender.
They said they loved you for it, for your freckled
wrist and the gears beneath your ribs.
Something burning through the floor
that smelled like creosote, gasoline.
All those pins in your hair you couldn't count.
All those shoes dropped in the river.
Three days they boil the meat. Unfold the fields
outside the window. The emptied dovecote.
You smell gunpowder and break your teeth
on the windowsill. Scream higher,
higher, until your mother cries.
Can't see her face for all the shining.
How she creases and folds the sheets
into perfect squares.
A row of nightgowns pushes
you from sleep. The light twitching
against the wall like wings.
You chew through a box
of pencils til the throbbing stops.
Bad ears. Bad dreams.
Like the drowned, only bone dry.
The ouija board says no, yes, no.
Spells out Clara, light,
something soft panting beneath the table.
Your hands so cold you could taste
the dead like burned out matches.
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