I lay my head down
in the boneyard of relatives
to feed Aunt Bea’s chickens.
Over in the corner
in the shade of Grandpa’s old pear tree
my mother lays among buzzing yellow jackets
feasting upon apples scattered in decay.
Momma pushes away all of her children,
those of us still alive;
screams for us to grow up;
demands we stop listening to the news;
shouts we better hunt us up
some animals for breakfast.
Desperately she lifts tattered, dirty burlap,
shoves small bones ragged with chunks of meat
into her vagina as she mourns and grieves
the deaths of three babies
from dirty, unwashed hands.
I glance up and see Aunt Bea peeking down
thru broken shutter slats guarding old attic windows.
She won’t come down;
expects us to visit her instead.
We do not dare, of course.
Aunt Bea is hungry beyond pain,
yet she avoids the bone yard where
her sister screeches
in the shade of serpent grief.
She pushes notes at us
from under her door,
notes so raw her letters leave us
wet with terror.
Aunt Bea’s eye sees me as it always does,
quivers with relief as it watches my head twitch.
Her one enormous eye, wild, heavy, swivels “Yes!”
I stand up headless and walk away
as chickens cluck and peck at my face.
My old twin head Wilson, severed across the throat,
rolls in staggered jerks beneath
swarming hens, roosters, and slaps of Momma’s shoe.
I’d once saved Wilson’s life from drowning.
My twin washed up on Absinthe Beach north of Yurka
five years after vanishing off Nikumaroro.
I return to the shed to cook down
p-ephedrine with hydroiodic acid,
red phosphorous, iodine, and lye.
Daddy slouches naked in the shadows
among broken antique furniture once
slathered in now faded yellow, green,
red, purple Dutch Boy lead paint.