Soon enough the branches
gnaw through the window

For you to hear the moths screaming

Little more than the spool of dust
and meat on the wind

Children crawl on their knees
along the road

They are singing, filling their pockets
since no one has eaten in days

There is rust and poison billowing out
from the twin absences of the nostrils

And lathering like a scummed rag
upon our tongues

Every grope of the sky is deafened
by the prayers of moths

They are flagging
They are falling into the pockets of children

They are chewed between our children’s teeth
Mangled there like the names
of your sisters and my sisters

The names like our sisters
are dipped in fire
The chewing of moths channels fire in the dark

They are praying

They do not want to have gone
only to come back as people

They have seen what is done to people

The dogs have brought back a finger
to implicate Medina, Kotouc,
Calley, Barker . . .

Though it can point nowhere
It folds in on itself like a snail

The rest of the hand turning over
in the human maw
over acid and stones

We have thrown rat traps down
into the graves

All night we hear their metal
hinges eating

The sky has been undone
Chickens, moths, angels

Everything of flight is lifted
from the ground
and cooked over fire

Look into your pockets
Your heart raises a bone as though to strike

Or cowers

In your pocket feel how meager
your heart will become

I’m not a doctor, John
If the witch floats you must agitate
your beard of rabbit’s moss
back into flame

If the fat that pours from her cheeks
gargles and spits from the burning planks
you must rotate the skewer

You must drive the soul skyward
to be lost in the bright hypothermia
or heavenly particles, heavenly drool

If the witch sinks you had better
shred the fish and exorcise the litter
Exorcise the flotsam and the jetsam

I mean I am no expert, John
I am no swimmer

But I would boil the lake before
reclaiming so much as my big toe

I cannot bring back that which
the fires have taken, John

Cremation moves the flour in one direction
I cannot wring the smoke until it yields a voice

I see you have brought your sieve
to confirm there is magic here
I cannot deny the magic of your sieve

I am no priest to be telling a man
what is gristle or star or sin
or steam or the spirit

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