Dear Reader
by Karen Rigby

The mink shouldered out of its cage, paced four meters square. I admired the indexed spine. The guard hairs slick. The mouth suspect.

The black eye trained against the water pump, the white magnolia— what could I bring to the dooryard? He wanted nothing of torn bread. Nothing to drink.

One night the mink climbed my throat and out of bone and grasping a demon was born to haunt the city of steeples.

It blessed the pedestals worn by thumbprints. Leather Bibles. Rivers bruising in their beds. Its jaw hung like a petal darkening by the hour.

Dear reader. What I started to tell you had something to do with hunger but the mink was demon turned bodiless terror.

It lead me closer to the firs where the dead wait for an answer. All night the mink appeared and disappeared. The demon wept.

Bodies lined up like blonde guitars without their necks. Faces I loved thorned in the trees. A tanager shone like a pitcher of blood.

Karen Rigby has poems forthcoming in Meridian and Quarterly West. Her most recent chapbook is Savage Machinery (Finishing Line Press, 2008).