Bless the choir that cradles sing.
Of tongues that left teeth,
of children old as knife wounds.

Panic moves, like an army of ants,
working underground. There is no air
in this dead bird of a bedroom

the window cocked, a cellophane gun,
watch as we fly into glass. As white paper

dampens. Everything out,
that’s supposed to be in.

Mama said, Jail cells can look a lot like breathing,
Mama said, each kitchen a war against your own blood.

Empty plates at sunrise,
I kneel on the linoleum and wish myself ghost town,
wish myself a shade of night, even blue can’t bury.

In this old house, each room an overdose, and I swallow
pill after pill, listening to this illness breathe

beneath the floorboards, broken mirrors are contagious.
The family heirloom

Of bless me mother for I have sinned.
They sold me as the baby doll
that coos instead of cries.