When it rained last week 

Two books come in the mail

on a Tuesday, midday.

Pages stiff, they stick with cold.

Inside, the floor creaks and 

furnace groans in tandem

It’s too empty 

the air is dry

the faucet drips after a glass is 

filled, sipped.

Lick flaked lips. 

Sit at the table erectly

spine aches, minutes pass

deliberately and nothing moves.

Raise eyebrows meticulously, in a rhythm 

stretching the scalp away from the skull.

Skin is too tight. 

Follicles throb at the crown of the head;

pull six strands

-one two three

one two three-

with purpose, with intention.

Pick at a spot on the table,

dried food,

chip it away to a sharp


It slides beneath the 

fingernail, catches the quick 

and draws blood.

Keep picking two more spots.

The sun sets and there is blood

on the table.

The books rest there


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