How the World Was Made


They speak to me: The half-eaten chicken wing in its bright red Colonel Sanders box; the orange polyester shirt discarded on rail-road gravel; the Polaroid nude tossed from a car window into dry grass; the twisted neck of the coyote on the road's shoulder.

I hear them scrape across the sand outside the bedroom window at night, mumble words to songs hundreds of years old. In the morning I sometimes find them hanging in leftover spider strands stretched between the bleached branches of the dead juniper in the back yard. They look like empty flies; nothing left but transparent skin.

I bury them. They keep returning. Scattered rust-nails, a wad of used toilet paper, cigarette butts in tin foil, a black glove. I can feel them out there, hovering near the ceiling in every bedroom in town where young couples are trying for a kid, impatient for some seed to take, give them a new body to enter, begin again.

When I walk past the elementary school in town I scan the children's faces on the playground, look for the ones that made it back in human form. Some point, laugh. Some run. Either way, I want them to know I know who they are.

number 20 in the 2River Chapbook Series