And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
A milksnake curls around the throat of a woman in a milkwhite dress.
Her knees mud-scabbed her mouth a bouquet of stitches finger
pricked, three drops of blood on the spindle, the thorn, the razor
blade dropped on the garden path there are other
girls in the woods who have stuffed their mouths with sweet-
bread mushrooms who have scaled the tower with gun
powder beneath their nails hair
snarled with burrs blood children
strapped to their backs and knives
to their thighs
manna, salamander, heart-root.
The riverwater churns cold. White sheets bloom with roses of blood.
What if the story is a thread, a wire, a snake, a rope that moors the flat-
bottomed boat to the bank and the water is dark and filled with eels?
Girls with their mouths sewn shut tongues cut out
wedding cake stuck to the roofs of their mouths
clamber in dresses translucent with rain.
Untie the knot, cut the rope.
The dragon opens his grimy eye.
The boats choke the stream, there
are so many and so many more will drown.
Out here in the wilderness hunger gathers its cloud
like the point of a storm touching down.