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Petit

37

Peeping through the hole next to my pillow, I could see a wasps’ nest galaxy, its queen laying double suns.

A constellation of white ants raided our larders, ate everything we didn’t lock in the cupboard.

Black rats ran along time’s warped rafters, dropped onto my face as I slept.

I saw the universe was a vineyard choking with brambles, patrolled by light year long praying mantises. I saw their straw-green helmets and Milky Way eyes.

What do you want from me? I asked them, and their telescope eyes peered into mine and spoke.

I scratch at Maman’s dripstone encrusted cave-coffin, and weave a web of roots around it as if I could store her in my keepnet until I am strong enough to face her.

The south breeze caresses me as I walk from ridge to ridge. The Mediterranean gleams like a radiant corpse, waves of its skin rising into the air to become cirrus.

I am always at home, listening to the bone-voiced dead. I am always at my mother’s grave, telling her everything.

Did she know that she carried a dragon, that when she breastfed me I drank her bile and stored it in my body to turn to fire later?

That when she made me speak, before my trembling voice obeyed her command, a firecloud escaped from my mouth to burn her face?

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