This is the house where I killed a squirrel with a pellet gun. I was nine months pregnant. This is the wall with a fist-shaped hole. I knew all the names of the weeds: chickory, pokeweed, purslane, vetch. Me. The neighbors never came outside until the septic failed and the police came because of the stench. The wife was carried out dead. Then my baby came. The dogs patrolled the halls and the baby slept in my bed. The man threw me against the wall. He said he thought I was a dog. The baby threw up blood. Weeds overcame the garden. And then, and then. It isn’t safe to say: leave. Hope. No. Sky marled with birds. The baby chewed my breasts. My fever rose. Western sky streaked red.

Sara Quinn Rivara