I hope you'll feel the pull between the beauty of the natural world this woman experiences around her, and the pull of the past that makes her turn away from what is and what could be to what was...

No one's seen her car around-- just oil spots left on hard-baked ground.

Three steps up to no screen door, red clay tracked on vinyl floor.

No curtains hang at any window. Burnt beans left from last night's dinner.

Noisy fan with rusty blades. Hounds are panting in the shade.

Unwatched TV volume thunders-- baby cries and neighbors wonder.

They all said it couldn’t last, and when they heard a shotgun blast--

were not surprised to find that he would leave her dead and take her keys.

Self-Victualization You don't eat your own kind, they tell me, trying to fool and frighten. But ants do--I've seen them-- carrying comrades, fallen under foot and broom, to unimagineable feasts in dark halls of earth.

It's part of the illness; an overall pattern, they write in their journals. I read upside down, though-- their cramped, cryptic script of whorls and columns are less puzzling to me than the pads of my fingers.

Nurse! they call in alarm, looking up from their notes to notice I'm nibbling the delicate skin of my wrist--savoring the welter and jumble of old scars--pink and tan over blue-branching veins.

Hyper-active imagination, they murmur, when I explain how the Vikings roasted their dead heroes, so those in Valhalla need never know that a flank steak, or rump roast, was missing.

Diagnosis? Disturbed. What does that mean? I have my flesh and eat it too? But they watch, not admiring the marks of my teeth--a red ruby necklace, draped over my forearm, sunk deep toward the bone.

I hunger, I tell them, when they ask me why--they copy my words with no understanding. Boil my bones, I say, down to the glue-- and bind your own madness together.

They whisper, heads bent over charts where I'm charted, but not yet discovered. I look at their necks, thinking salt-licks and macarons and skin-secret spices--and wonder if I should eat out more?