breakfast

 

there are five crows this morning. they are eating something that tried to cross the road. I want to know (a cat, a raccoon) but there is too much traffic. I only see black. black swirling, black diving — black tearing red. suddenly, the murder explodes. black flies into the air disturbed, interrupted. a crow leaps across my car; his feathers leave trails on the dusty hood. he peers through my windshield, looks me in the eye. he opens his big onyx beak. I hear him say no, don’t look. you don’t want to know.

 
just keep driving.

 

breakfast

tea

 

I am sitting on my living room floor. the old wood is warm in the sun. it holds me like my grandmother’s arms. the indian is searching through kitchen cabinets. he wants rooibos, he wants it dark red. cigarette smoke coils around his head like a moulting snake. I watch it breathe. I smell its liquid skin. I tell the indian that smoking kills and he laughs. everything is death, he says. death is life. he finds the tea. he pours heat over dried leaves — they bleed. the house fills with the silence of plants, of consuming, of life. I lay my hands on the soft-worn floorboards.

 
I can hear trees sigh.

 

tea

cupboard

 

the indian is measuring the old painted cupboard, stretching his fingers across space, across time. he is calculating. I have a piece of wood, he says. I can fix this for you. a changing wind moves the trees; cool air bursts through my window. it disturbs curtains, stirs the glass sun-catcher. something burns — a faint scent of death, a last gasp of leaves. I want to push him inside the furniture he is examining. I want to shut the door. I want to open it again and find him standing still, standing silent. I want to find him frozen in this moment.

 
I want to hold him in my hand.

 

cupboard

apples

 

my mother is a squirrel in the maple tree. she questions me when I walk outside. she wants to know why I’ve let apples fall to the ground, why I’ve let their yellow flesh go soft and wormy. on the fence, my father reprimands. this is a waste of space. this is a waste of resources. I don’t listen because I am the dog. I eat rotten fruit until I’m sick, until my carnivorous stomach rebels. I hide my shame in the blinding sunlight.

 
I watch until the door closes, then I eat again.

 

apples

delivery

 

I am outside braiding wisteria branches. I can’t stop until all the new shoots are twisted. he is knocking on the closed door, making my silent phone ring. his impatient truck rumbles in the driveway, touching wires it shouldn’t touch. he wants to unload a burdensome box. he wants to remove packaging; he wants to connect. his cigarette is a warning. his broken capillaries are a premonition.

 
a crow watches us with gun-metal eyes.

 

delivery

string

 

a guy walks into a bar. he’s looking for a priest, a preacher — a rabbi. he’s looking for a piece of string. he opens the box on my kitchen table, a cardboard space where I put all the things he left here for me to put into a box. a twisted muscle beats in its wet corner, underneath the love letters tied together with frayed knots. their envelopes are so damp, so old that they’ve resealed themselves. my secrets are untold again.

 
my lies are truth again.

 

string

king

 

he’s at the deli counter, waiting for the blue woman to pick through fried thighs and legs, to put twelve in a black plastic box. his cart is full of bananas and peanut butter and prescription packages. I say to him — what are you thinking? that’s what got you the last time. look at yourself, man. you can’t zip your jumpsuit. you can’t catch your breath. he shimmies. he shakes. he lifts up his diamond-studded shades, looks me right in the eye. you’re right, he says. it’s the damned chicken. it gets me every time. thank you, he says.

 
thank you very much.

 

king

fire

 

my old door is burning in the fire pit he made from a rusty oil barrel. I don’t know where the other half is — it could be belching smoke into another tired town. the indian walks up the driveway whistling, rustling a paper bag. he comes for the apples. he comes for the flames. he comes to tell me to close my windows because he smells ozone in the air. he feels thunder. a piece of ash floats onto his arm (his bare wood-brown arm). he touches it.

 
luck he says, like a feather, falls down.

 

fire

vision

 

a hawk nags through this morning like an old woman. she circles the yard screeching but no one listens, no one answers. I want to — I want to tell her that I understand, that I had wings. I used to sit in the tree tops with sharp eyes, my proud colors glossy in the sun. I used to see the whole picture. I want to tell her but I’m down here on the ground, tilting objects closer in the light.

 
I call but no one answers.

 

vision

storm

 

a cold front moves in like another cliché. it gusts. it disturbs. the maple tree drops tired branches, used-up leaves. it has held tightfisted its dry wood for weeks but there is no more reason to be lush, to be strong. now is the time to fling, to relinquish. now is the time to dance. thunder sets the expected rhythm.

 
hail accompanies with the expected harmony.

 

storm