By Tess Liegeois

She broke

            her arm jumping

                        out a window


for her cousin’s

cigarette. Kaboom.

            She let the Dirty Boys


play house

            with those quiet girls

                        when mother was out.


She got hitched

            early 19. Ended it at 20.

                        Then once again later.


He was an American

            soldier, shot in the jungle,

then stabbed at King’s Cross.


He claimed

            a near death experience

                        and told the priest


to fuck off.

            He also claimed

                        an alien abduction


years later.

            Then died

                        clutching his heart—


She had gone

            by then with French boy

                         who learned English on the radio


and built her a house

            on some careening coast

                        made of quicksand.


They weren’t good at playing

            house. 1 then

                        2 noiseless cribs


with babies dressed in pantaloons

            like dead toys.

                        3rd was never named


but stilled (Gulp. Sip. Gulp)

            by a few blooming pills.

                        Her world was sickly quiet.


Her world

            Her whirled



It’s this ocean

            made of swamps

                        sucking life.


It’s the murk

            from this gulf

                        that oily mouth.


It’s the sunlight

            boring through me.

                        It’s a sickness


not quite death

            heaving with a past and future