I want to make someone feel this for me so I don’t have to

I could knit my own twin out of wire,

a little yarn for hair.  Ghost double, mirror’s mirror,

little parasite—I can be so crafty, she could be

a real girl, and I’m Pygmalion, or is it Narcissus

in love with myself?  We all have our personal myths.

In mine I will be a lion with a human face, Medieval

allegory.  There was no difference then

between a lion and a leopard, between a lion and  dragon.

A woman could give birth to rabbits if she wanted to,

the world had an edge—you could sail right up to it

and fall off.  I’ll make a boat of all the words

I’ve swallowed, the unnameable growing inside me,

bundle of hair and bone and teeth.  I’ve been hiding this

so carefully.  If the doctors find it, they will cut it out.


Something About the Body

I keep waking up with headaches. I don’t know

what this means. Last night in the bathroom mirror

my skin turned transparent; I read my veins like rivers

on a roadmap, puckered with goosebumps,

woke with a cramp in my jaw. I keep dreaming

all my teeth are falling out. I think that means

I’m afraid of abandonment, or is that falling?

Right from the start you were famished,

my mother said to me one day on the phone,

as if I didn’t already know how much I could take

from someone if they’d let me, afraid

to take anything in case I never stop.

All afternoon in the magnolia the catbird

has been shrieking itself hoarse. At night, trains

rattle and wail past the house. Here comes another one.

There’s a girl in this house who’s in love with a ghost

She can be me if you want. The ghost can mean something.

OK, let’s say she’s me. Let the ghost be what you like.

Tiny hills of sand keep appearing in the driveway.

I was thinking about ghosts, and now I can’t stop thinking

about ants under the house, in my kitchen, my bed.

I pour boiling water on the tunnels where they fumble

half-blind but they come back, haunted by their own

tiny ghosts. They recognize one another by smell.

I once smelled a boy on my hands hours after

leaving him. I put my hands in the back of his jacket,

woke up with the ghost of him on my fingers.

The ghosts wake the girl up, weights pressing into her

empty bed. Someday, she will die too. The house will be full

of ghosts, and the ants will keep going on with their small lives.