You are at a funeral the first time a man tells you you’ve
a fine young woman. Or does he say budding? The man is
He is probably related to you, but who knows, all old men look
At dinner in the hotel the meat looks like tongues and tastes
tastes like braces in someone else’s mouth. It has been said
and you can’t stop thinking of the word, of what might grow
from it and from
you, of how last time the family was together like this
you sat under the table with your cousins and ate and ate
and now you want to go outside and taste the night air,
you want to drink what your mother is drinking.
You touch the lamb on your plate – press a finger in
to watch the blood snake into your nail. You are laying on
you will think the animal back to life, imagine it coming
together at the table,
a surprised sheep wet from rebirth, wool matted. In the hotel
you hang out of the window smoking, and your shoulders are
above your dress. You are so full of spit and blood and it is
moving so fast
and you wonder about if this thing had been open casket,
if you had placed a hand over your grandmother’s face and let
it all rush
to your palms. You felt the men follow you like they follow
their eyes yellow and hungry. They want to open dark mouths
and take you in,
want to stop your photosynthesis, but you have turned your
face to the sky,
to all the stars visible out here in the country. You blow
smoke through chapped lips.
You know there are more stars than you can count; you know the
longer you look
the more you will see. You wonder why you decided to look up.
You wonder why you would ever look away.