• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 12


She told me they picked her out specially
and I pictured the arcade, the claw machine:
her parents, that shiny, cheating hand,
and a bright glass room full of silent babies.
Her favourite game was archaeologist. I’d bury
whatever I could steal, leave it there
to weather. Ordinary things, she said slyly,
are worth more if you lose them,
then find them. Triumphant, filthy, we’d cradle
the unearthed, gift them new names,
so instinctive our wild mouths stayed full
with their spells. A brother’s knife, lumped
to clotted rust: the Saint Lazarus sword. Barbie’s
leg, dog-gnawed and spilling clay marrow – homo
tenderfoot. Lamb bones, doll’s shoes. Every kind
of body. When I’d planted a skull, she’d hiss
with satisfaction at the find, lovingly tuck
her fortune cookie label in behind the eyes.
I, not being a treasured thing, not being
a chosen prize, was not meant to know them.
I never told her she talked in her sleep, her tongue
sifting through dirt. Solo, Mama, slurs the wookie
of her growl. I’ll find you. The moon on her lips
rounding out Home. That night when I stood
at the window, counting the stars and plotting
the map. How she crow-called behind me:
The claw, the claw. Don’t let it drop me.