Her belly hangs full and heavy, a sack of potatoes.
The painter's wife grabs at a pew to steady herself when she stands.
The priest glares, his vestments white, the words:
"Fornication, serpent's tooth and Whore of Babylon"
lie like uncoiled strings inside his mouth. He knows,
she will drag them down to sin, her mouth a peddler's pack
filled with combs, bodkins and prickly heresy.
"Eat and you shall become as gods." But Ann only smiles.
The knife unfolds like a bird's wing. When she cuts her palms,
the Xs are red cross stitches.
"Drink and it will become wine," she says and it does.
The angels napping in the church eaves wake.
They remember Mary's blood. That is where it began.
They lapped it like cats.
Ann spins graceful despite her bulk.
Miriam the sister of Moses danced with the timbrel
when she saw the Egyptians fall into the ocean,
horse, rider and spear. They could not hurt her anymore.
She raises her arms above her head and laughs.
Green pills, yellow pills, white pills. I wonder if they color code the pills to match the malady, green to soothe, yellow to wake, white to purify evil thoughts, black like ravens who peck and caw, Jezebel's bones, sodden red tulips, dogs lapping, tongues so black, black holes that like eating novas and girls like me that just happen to see the testifying of bricks. "Here someone was murdered", fickle neurons, scandalized hieroglyphs of blood, constellations of wolves such bloody tongued dogs.
"Open," the nurse says checking to see if I have swallowed her pills. I always do hoping such sacred behavior will loosen me of this place. If I promise to believe everything they say? But Nurse Mary is quite contrary, maiden's breath grows in her garden, clouds of crushed stems, pollen and powder. Maybe she sees the wolf. My flamingoes feel the unease of rhyming couplets and badly played croquet. What would Alice do? What would the Duchess do? What happened to Jack and Jill after they s
Seven years ago, on a street in Hamburg Germany,
angels told you things, their eyes unblinking
as a lizard's flat stare. You were fixed on the apocalypse, bits of sky falling.
You didn't tell anyone, no need to warn.
Instead you stood and watched as tulips of beaten sun filled your outstretched hands
until they towed you away and strapped you tight, sleeves tied in back.
Eventually the crystal in your blood dried
and flaked like old paint. "I was really crazy then"
you told me once, your hands quick as a lizard's tongue
as you stroked the inside of my thigh.
But now as we sit in this cafe,
angels once again buzz around you like gnats.
"Can't you hear them," you ask,
your own eyes flat as glass. I simply sit.
You can no longer hear me. Anything I say
will be eaten by the angels' voices: tangerines, apricots, cherries
dark as ink, old habits, the branches of the trees
hang so heavy with fruit. They bend then break.
You left the knife on the drainboard,
bits of lettuce scattered like green rice.
We should get married, you tell me,
this house tight as a ring around us.
In every room, sleep waits for me.
Sometimes I wake sprawled on the wooden floor
not remembering that I fell.
Things blur, the copper pans
hanging on the wall swell in tight glowing bellies
woven rugs flow like rivers.
At night, your face flowers into an open moon,
filling our bed with light
There is no place left to hide.
We bask, the sun weak as watered milk.
We create lists of things we remember,
stalling on artichokes, "green" long forgotten.
Basilisks have returned.
They gather around the bird feeders,
clumsy wings batting away sparrows and hummingbirds.
Even honey water excites them.
Pathetic really. Until you remember
it was us who brought them back with our lists.
There are still people
who think money is worth something.
Their lists fill with numbers, denominations.
Paper bills swarm thick as locusts.
They are rich
until our dragons eat them.
We all have our distractions.
We thought it would be more exciting,
the apocalypse. Instead this slow unraveling,
edges blurring into pinpricks of color
becomes old after a while.
Then we found we could create life.
But ours aren't stiff horror movie shambles.
We're more like dilettantes
copying Mona Lisas and dissolving water lilies
into grimy notebooks until no one can tell the difference.
We could have left with everyo