Somebody with ill intentions
has come to my door.
When he knocks, a murder
of crows ascends from my roof
like a hat lifting
from a mourner’s head.
Don’t we all believe ourselves
exempt until we’re suddenly –
or slowly (with needles) not?
Two raps on the wood.
A formality, as it turns out.

He moves along the inside
of our bodies, like paper
in flames. If I hide in my closet,
he wears me there too.
When he offers his hand,
I have already locked
fingers with him.
Even if I thrash and call out
for my mother like a child,
he’ll note my tongue,
add it to the list
of parts he’ll take.
In a basket I will go,
my house whipped clean.

Dara-Lyn Shrager