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Fanny Linguistics: Superstition

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.

from Fanny SaysFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2015
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Nickole Brown Poems

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