1. [July 2013 Millheim, Pennsylvania]
This is how you miscarry on purpose, with pills:
this is how you eat a sack of tattered peonies.
With stippled petals in your mouth, this is how
you set the little sunset-
colored bottle by the bed, orange plastic bright
This is how you iron and tear a man’s
white cotton t-shirt into strips. These are the instructions
in a stack. Here, these are the peonies, mottled open. This is the number to call
if passing blood clots
larger than a lemon.
2. [March 2014 Columbia Falls, Montana]
This is how you choose an axe.
This is how for weeks you watch your shadow
like a piece of sour silk, a grainy wing. This is how you drink.
This is how the Flathead Valley’s clouds run rootless
in the spring, cressets flash between the grasses, snow
and fire in the waters of the lake. This is how you dream
another river, flicker in the cedars. Whitefish, Salish, Stillwater, Swan.
With a river kicking in your teeth, this is how you toss
a match, watch your shadow burn.
3. [July 2013 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania]
This is how, to get the pills, you leave
at dawn. This is how the nation prickles
in your palms—edgy as a bag in brambles, drift
and kick, an empty rattle
in the weeds. This is how you find the building by the Susquehanna.
This is how you memorize the other women’s faces.
This is how your sweetheart waits, how they call you in
and send you out again, how you travel
home, orange bottle
and a blue glove tucked inside your purse.
4. [March 2014 Kalispell, Montana]
This is how you find out where the doctor works.
This is how you go, woodsman, into the dusk, hunting fuel
for what fire, against what cold? Closely,
how the horses
down on Wildhorse Island sleep in snow, in their own language,
on camus roots, on cliffs.
This is how you spread a sheet in shaking sun,—
This is how you smash the backdoor’s glass at night;
this is how you eat a river, how
you push the pills inside and wait, how
you dream fluently in peonies of fire, how
you hammer-claw the faces out in photographs, scatter
files, amber everything with iodine. This is how
you start to bleed, how you
hatchet plumbing, make the water heater
moan. This is how you soak the cotton strips.
This is how the furnace gives, how tables split, how you hew
the ultrasound machine and pull the potted jade
up by its roots. This is how they find you, a wilted wing, womb
still clenching like a tired fist, pistol
in your pocket. A line of your own blood
drawn across your palm. This is what you tell them:
This is how I name myself: this is how
I talk to God.