My body is migrating for winter, following the cranberry trail
Of monarch butterflies, the crows eat baby rabbits, unable to resist.
Winter squirrels are building a nest of regurgitated mulberries, full-
Ripe acorns, spindly dandelion stems in the back corner of my deck.
Recent-born mice swim in the fermented mix, enter my soft bedroom.
My cat finds their tails, leads them to death by broken heart,
Their perfect half-formed bodies drowned in feline saliva.
Watching orange-petaled words explode like hijacked planes over the sandstorm
sky, skipping stones across nocturnal
puddles and you say I’ve been dreaming of water, wanting your skin to be saturated,
drenched, so desperate for drowning
that you pried open the deadbolt of a prepackaged retirement home that bloomed
where nothing else can grow, helped
yourself to the shower, held onto the safety
rail and hoped the widowed owner was a deep sleeper, bubble-wrapped in dreams
of happier endings without oncoming
cars that crossed the solid line. I haven’t bathed in days, I confess, a kind of self-destruction,
knowing that my muse delivers Thumbelina
phrases between water drops, I stubbornly exist in dirty frayed pajamas with only peanut butter
and cheap red wine to nourish me inside
my windowless rooms. The meteorologist announces a deep freeze tonight and I am shocked
to hear that it’s no longer July. You tell me
Christmas is 15 days away, time for my pilgrimage into the desert, but every time I see one shoe
on the highway’s edge, a single glove
or earring, I wonder if it’s missed. She woke up, you tell me, the widow, invited you to reflect
upon her life, perhaps a different career,
licensed funeral director and embalmer had such promise but like an ill-intentioned gynecologist,
her daily view of death up close and personal
grew tiresome. Narrative science also lost its charms, translating Dante’s nine circles of hell
into the most obscure languages, Njerep,
Kawishana, finally admitting that without context, the flowery words were not enough.
They were e.e. cummings poems, I say,
I forgot to tell you that. We may have to go back to the beginning and draw this maze again.