It only takes a moment, and then
her body burns, the skin lifting away
in the shape of leaves—an oak, a willow branch, a maple—
as if she’s known this language for years.
She is screaming, she is speaking
in tongues, she is a woman
lost in dreams. Around here, it is only heat
and burn—and then there is the numbness, too.
A chill. A spider finding its way
through the nerves, the rope.
In case of a fire, the elevator is closed.
The spider takes the stairs, the spine,
like a ladder, looking for a way out:
a vibration, a scream,
the mouth is open.
When it comes, the meaning of water
It is not soothing and cool—it burns.
The blue is a form of darkness
inside the house.
Then the house is no longer a house.
It is as if she has become a part of it—
the pictures, the clothing, melting—
the water seeming to strip away
what skin she believes is left. More blue.
When it comes, the color of the sun and the sky
are yellow, like a crayon, and then she is seeing
the house from the outside: the burn,
the tiles, the shingles, folding,
the main doorway like a mouth,
left open in a scream, bending, twisting,
into what only can be a more painful cry.
The sound that comes to mind reminds her
of wolves, echoing in a canyon,
absent of trees
that were sent away by the heat.