We found his box of green pellets, stuffed

the poison in our cheeks, carried it away

to a high place out of reach of the children:

a plastic bag of pillows dangling from a top bunk.

We tried not to swallow en route, leapt the chasm,

made a dozen deadly deposits in the pillows,

hoped against hope the toxic dust would not

dry us up, turn our blood against our own hearts.

In the meantime, in the daily hurried rituals

of scurry, gather and hide, barely sleeping,

we forgot where we tucked away our riches.

When it snowed, a woman found our pine nuts

in her snow boot. When she spilled her coffee,

grass seeds cached in towels high on a shelf

spilled out like confetti into her mouth. The next day,

stuck to threads of a cotton nest chewed into a mattress

pad stored under the bed, she found our mother

a brown, dried horror husk, mealworms long dead

in the small bowl of her skull, the ribs of her chest.



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