by Beth Woodcome
The shame in the church crawls out of each human. A mild sin grows first behind the ears.
The wind: it comes without thought or any use of my hands. My hair grows the same color as the red scarf covering a lamp. I’ve heard of women who lead men into a chamber that is stained like the pit of a cherry. Place something upon the tongue. Go in peace.
Pretending there is no time to stop and look at the old gravestones that lean south, my father keeps driving. The common is cold and blown clear of leaves. This is near Chocksett School playground where a German shepherd tore up my soft back. My father took me to the dog that night to let it smell me. I held it in my arms. We’re all bound to something.
The strain of the body in trauma stresses the heart muscle. When I come up for air, the wind fills my throat before I realize I want it to.
When I think of what I am, I think of this small town. The dog, my back, the women, my dog.