Beavers and Coyotes

I don’t have stories. I have stories.
I use to be addicted to heroin.
I have never been addicted to heroin.
I was a beaver before. True.
I had stiff whiskers and a paddle for a tail.
I should be a beaver still. Look at my mouth,
And tell me I wasn’t meant
To gnaw at tree trunks and peppermints and
The white skin inside my arm, sleek as my own teeth.
[I gnawed. I did what I was supposed to do.
I do what I am supposed to do. I gnaw.] Put a silk purse full of sticks
Between my teeth. Hurry. Snap closed the plastic gold clasp with a click.
Some echoes are like shadows that drop in front of a balloon.
It is deep night and coyotes are pulsing on low hills while I gnaw.
See their flanks shine. My flanks shine.
My flanks glow like teeth. I gnaw and worry at wood,
At my glowing arm, worrying away, pulling splinters from my skin.
Coyotes foam and pulse. It would all be different if I could foam and
Pulse. I foam and pulse. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do.
I was high on heroin. I’ve never touched heroin. I should have touched heroin. I
should touch heroin. I should touch it now! I should
Gnaw open my veins with friendly old square teeth. Time is
Wasting. Wasted. I am wasted. I am lightheaded.
I woke up in a cardboard box of sticks tee-pee’d on a concrete
Sidewalk. Inside blankets were circled into loose, friendly nests on the
Pebbled sidewalk, like piles of hair shorn from
The quietly pulsing scalps of small girls.
I am the smallest girl you have ever known, and I weeded out my
own hair, hands motoring in circles, into a nest for
Anyone who will stop to rest beside me.
Pull me into your lap. Fold me open
Like a paperdoll. Curl me into a pillbug,
a bloom, a teabag with a square paper tail.
Crimp me until I please you.
I didn’t sleep enough. I can’t ever, not
Ever sleep long enough. Coyotes cried and
Barked all night, stirring their yips
In their bellies. I understand.
My head is loose and the sun is wiping snazzy
Fingers over my face. My hands are dry and dusty. When I snap, powder
Puffs from my fingers. My skin flakes. I get a palm-sized broom, borrowed
From a diner crowing about its chocolate pies. I am covered in scales.
Peel me down. Take care. Watch the powder. My teeth crack on peeling sticks,
Breaking like eggshells over the rim of a silver bowl. The unevenness of their
Shells is just exactly what I have been thinking about. I sand my thoughts down,
Worry at the rough edges. This is what I do when I’m doing what I’m supposed
To do. I dull my thoughts, break their sharp points down into
Little mounds of sawdust, piled like anthills on hot sidewalks.
The sun presses on my forehead. I am a pile of limbs. My pelvis rocks. I eat
Limbs. I eat anything in piles. My arm bones dry up, crack.
The morning sun does this: crack like an egg
On the ocean’s rim. I was lightheaded. I am lightheaded. The sun is just right.
I’m alone in a chilly pond. The sun can only be like this
When I’m brown and
Waist deep in chilly water, teeth pulsing and gums foaming.
I am made for sawing.
I was made to saw. I am ready to saw.
I’m swaddled tight and dry in athick pelt.
Sun smacks my cheeks with both palms,
Pulling my face up to the white glow.

Edit

Take one look at my fleshy mouth,
And you tell me I wasn’t meant to
Gnaw at wood and peppermints ticked red and mostly
The white skin inside my arm, running up sleek as my own teeth.
Put a silk purse full of sticks between my teeth.
Hurry. Snap the plastic gold clasp with a click.
Coyotes are pulsing. Coyotes pulse. See their flanks shine.
My flanks glow like teeth. I gnaw and worry at wood,
At my glowing arm with sharp teeth.
Coyotes foam and pulse. It would all be different if I could foam and
Pulse. I foam and pulse. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do.
I was high on heroin. I’ve never touched heroin. I should have touched heroin. I
should touch heroin. I should touch it now. I should
Gnaw my veins open with dull, sharp teeth. Time is
Wasting. Wasted. I am wasted. I am lightheaded.
I woke up in a cardboard box of sticks tee-pee’d on a concrete
Sidewalk, wool blankets circled into loose, friendly nests, like
Piles of hair shorn from the quietly pulsing scalps of small girls.
I am the smallest girl you have ever known, and I weeded out my
own hair, my hands motoring, into a nest for anyone,
Anyone who will stop to rest
with me. I didn’t sleep long enough. I can’t ever, not
Ever sleep long enough. Coyotes cried and
Barked all night, stirring their yips
In moist circles over a fire. My head is loose and the sun wipes
Fingers over my face. My hands are dry and dusty. When I snap, powder
Puffs from my fingers. My skin flakes. I get a palm-sized broom, I borrow
It from a diner crowing about its chocolate pies. I am covered in scales.
Peel me down. Take care of the powder. My teeth break on peeling sticks,
Cracking like eggshells over the rim of a silver bowl. The unevenness of their
Shells is just exactly what have been thinking on. I sand my thoughts down
On rough edges. This is what I do when I’m doing what I’m supposed
To do. I dull my thoughts, break their sharp points down into
Little mounds of sawdust, piled like anthills on hot sidewalks.
The sun presses on my forehead. I am a pile of limbs. I eat
Limbs. My arm bones dry up, crack. The Morning sun does this: crack
Like an egg on the ocean’s rim. I was Lightheaded. I am lightheaded. The sun is just right.
I’m alone in a chilly pond. The sun can only be like this
When I’m brown and
Waist deep in chilly water, teeth pulsing and foaming. I am made for sawing.
I was made to saw. I’m swaddled tight and dry in rough, wet fur.
Sun marks my face.
You know how it is when the sun is this
Way and you’re brown and dry and wet.

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