No one knows about the jaws in the barn, worn and white and cool as pudding. Nor the rabbits nest in the mulberry bush. Nor the owls which rally together to take our cats one by one. No one knows about the black snakes we catch and refer to as pythons. We wander around all summer. We find these things. There are two of us. I love him, but one day he will punch me in the stomach and that will be it. Right now we sit in sunlight in the roofless barn, drawing arrows on his arms that point to me. We play house in the buildings on my parents’ land. We empty the old WD40 cans into the walls until all the rooms have an oily sheen. We play garden in the fields. He braids my hair out there, puts the earrings in my earlobes, dresses me like a woman. Every evening we hear my father’s snare drum in the distance. He is in the attic with his trap set, and there are no ears except ours and my mother’s to hear him. When were apart I think of him and want him to watch me lifting the arm on the record player, loading the towels in the washer, chopping my mother’s vegetables for one of her time-saver meals. I want him then in an armchair pressing tobacco into a pipe, striking a match, blowing rings of smoke onto my fingers.
art by Robinson Accola