Bite

— Kelli Russell Agodon

The goats chew my coat sleeves because they love
what they shouldn’t have. I am not bothered
by their asking tongues, but bothered at how quickly
I give in to their requests.
                                            Sometimes I feel autumn
is a doorway to grieving, how we love the woman
downstairs until she becomes an empty room.
She was a bear to deal with, always pounding
on the ceiling, always yelling through the floors.
After the earthquake I nailed my cabinets to the walls,
as the earthquake taught me another way to die
is by furniture.
                          In bed, I think of how the goats love
what isn’t good for them. Then I think: I am that
goat, I am that desire
. Even though I didn’t sleep
with the bear, I still think of her often. The note
slipped under the door said, You’ve forgotten
your…
then trailed off into the O of loneliness.
And I want to tell her, my syllables are filled
with longing, the echo of what I didn’t taste.


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