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.