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.