In this version of the story,
I pile my hair up and pull out
the coffin nail from the back
of my neck. My fangs worn clean
by my catlike tongue. I cut out
my rotting parts, pretty myself up
with frangipani water. My accomplice:
the night, the frogs refusing to sing.
I wander the hushed village,
looking for food left outside
on banana leaves: a chicken bone
to chew on. A glass of milk to swig.
The wide-eyed shape of a man hitching up
his sarong, the open plain of his arms:
the ones I gather myself into
as I lean into his neck and lick
his throat clean. How his eyes will stay
with me for days after, even though
I kiss his lids shut, the white of them –
traced by the sudden flash
of halogen and sickles,
a new widow’s cry – later, two
pinpricks in the trees, watching
me undress for the morning.
How his footsteps will always
follow a step behind: stopping
when I stop, running when I run.
The ghost of his hands always
caressing mine, tilting back
another man’s head as I feast.
His mouth, the shape of it.
When I sleep I dream of teeth.