Journal of Writing & Environment

soft and fingerless as oven-mitts. Landscape

generic smiles. Fox fur caps, dog


whistles, red wagon races. No blood

on their breath. But I had to bury


the blue baby shoes, because all I got was this fistful

of daughters and birdlime. The oldest grows


her fingernails long and pointed as lectures

while wasps make nests in her coils


of hair. It was the famine year, all we had

to eat were the candlesticks. Hounds


tightening concentric circles around the house.

Everything was closing in when the second


girl was born, the floor plan and chambers

of her heart elaborate as a plantation manor.


But her teeth rest in the grass like a tangle

of cottonmouths. She drops her jaw, peels


back her lips, and flashes us her sickly white

gums and tongue. We all dance


wide orbits away from her.

Now the third girl is born, pristine


and pupil-less. Let me long for nothing but these

mice, my cat mouth.