My grandmother’s teeth stare at her
from a mason jar on the nightstand.
The radio turns itself on,
Deep in the cotton petals of a watermark
I see my father stacking sheets of plywood,
his hands freckled with sawdust, his silvery
Divine and white,
you’re an aspirin fit for the gods,
the powdery ghost of Gandhi
conjured into a bottle,
Only three days and already I loathe this place,
this milk-white morgue, this smiling slaughterhouse,
where girls in straitjackets grow fat on pills,
floating on pale clouds of Clozapine,
A sudden surge of boys
with their smiles punched out,
care of a local Tough Man contest.
It was all I needed
Like a trick
you crawled up Hitler's sleeve,
a crooked cross with bent arms,
two cursed S's twisted together
Once a favorite conversation piece,
now something more like a disease.
A weathervane sings, a wind chime clangs.
after Sue Owen
Born from flour anointed with oil,
from a roux dark and mean as a horse’s breath,
after Susan Thomas
Truth is, my life was no fairytale,
that afternoon, I lay, a smiling corpse
The schizophrenic girl twists off a turkey leg
then scoops a spoon-full of corn onto her plate.
Her hair is a black brain of braids,