In Fanny’s house, there were ways of killing
someone by walking alone: I could step over
my youngest uncle sprawled watching TV,
could step over his boy heart or leg or arm—
it wouldn’t matter which—because unless you step back
over him, right quick, by morning he’ll be
Same goes for a bird let in the house—a sparrow
in the laundry room had wings
of the Great Scythe, and a black crow
tangled in the living room curtains could well wipe
the whole family out. And should you dream
of losing your teeth—that meant death
coming sure as an owl shits
tiny bones of mice in the middle of the night;
it was a full-on omen, start baking
the funeral casseroles now.
Funny, all that hoo-doo about dying with no intent
to remember the dead—how Fanny hated photographs:
I don’t take pictures, she said. It just makes me sad,
and if anything ever did happen
to one of the kids, I don’t want to be left
staring at their face.
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