I come from the pine and the owl in its branches.
I come from fields filled with corn and a town
with one stop sign, one abandoned tractor, one acre
of blueberries, two dirt roads, one black family.
I come from the deer my stepfather shot, its legs
slumped to both sides, and the gory grin spilling onto
the kitchen table. I come from my mother, with a hundred
knives spread on the counter like graves.
I come from the graves. I come from tombstones I read
to myself like counting rosary beads on nights I can’t sleep.
I come from sickness in a Victorian home,
hospital gowns crumpled into corners and naked women
who dance beneath red neon lights. I come from hips.
I come from a sterile bathroom and a Playboy magazine,
more science than nature. I come from ragged breathing
and sex hot in my palm like bile, the kind of urgency that stains,
something boiled and oozing red, a cry in the woods
and the silence that follows.