In my walking dreams I dreamed this town & you
promised it to me. I dreamed this lake & these pines &
these buildings too, though the sun touched them when
I dreamed. When I woke up from walking I was alone in
the town, but the town had rusted under the endless
ash-fall of night. I took your wallet. It was the smallest
thing I could be sure you’d come after. That’s what
you’re going to face the dead for. It’s not rust that covers
the town, it’s blood. It’s not blood, it’s the sound of the
town burning every time it snows.
When you said anything you didn’t mean these: bound
at the waist & backs split open. They stand up & stand
up. Stay on the road, they say. This is the road, they say:
come to me. The map is real, like something I’ve only
just learned how to pronounce.
You watch her mouth move but the name of the town is
silent & everything in the town is named after the town.
The painting where it burns doesn’t say a thing. You
watch her mouth move but the water covers it up.
The pool is drained but the baby carriage is still in the
center. The children are slow to starve. Their ribs make
a dry pool beneath their caved-in mouths. There is a
treasure made of metal in the carriage. Run. They bend
back. They are trying to spread their ribs like wings.
They are taking a very deep breath. They are trying to
blind you with what comes next.
Lisa Ciccarello lives & works in Portland, OR & is the author of four chapbooks, including the recent Sometimes there are travails (Hyacinth Girl Press) & the forthcoming (the shore in parts) (Greying Ghost Press). Her poems have appeared in Handsome, Tin House, Denver Quarterly, Leveler, Everyday Genius & Corduroy Mtn., among others.