She’d tell him about the fangs in the haystack

the ransacked granite

and he’d look at the mail all the while

or stare at TV news

puncturing her tale with umm-hmm

while he spit tobacco juice

into a drained amber beer bottle—

and that’s when she disappeared.


She’d swept the stubble of her brooding

beneath her diaphragm until it began to hurt.

She walked backward, past the brass sundial

past the shrunken bonsai

the metal barn with the mock X snapped into place

to the tree in the middle of the yard

its branches moving like flukes in a watery sky.

She climbed and found everything she needed.


She hid among branches blowing their secrets.

Leaves graced her hair

and the tree dropped resin on her like a baptism.

One night in a deluge she lay down

her head resting on one muscular limb.

When the rain stopped, a tiny tumor

presented itself from her wrist.

It looked like a bud. . .

Copyright © 2003 ellen.  All Rights Reserved.

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