I'm talking to the one-eyed woman
who stands on the corner of Second and Mission
smoking and snarling through her curls. Hard to say
who are insults are aimed at. They land at her feet
like cigarette butts. I heard that years ago
someone strangled her, left her for dead
in a parking garage, and when she came to
she wandered into the natural history museum
and found herself chased down the wood and marble corridors
by flying horns and antlers that shot through the air
like schools of barracuda. Before they could impale her
she stepped through the glass and disappeared into a diorama
of a group of soft, harmless lemmings
who do not, by the way, actually commit mass suicide
by leaping into the sea, it's a myth we've perpetuated
over the years to convince ourselves that animals are
even more fucked up than we are.
She's the mirror image of my wife, whose face sprung
from a drawer crammed with invisible objects.
My wife also only has one eye, the opposite one
from the woman at Second and Mission, whom
I used to money to which I should have been giving
to my wife for groceries.
My wife insists on grocery shopping in the forest
even though the selection is not as good as at the markets
and everything she buys is covered in sap and stickers.
The woman at 2nd and Mission would tell me stories about her life
after being strangled. I went through a warp, she said.
I passed through a wormhole. I was on TV and the TV
was a tunnel. I was hugging the walls. Scrambling up
the drainpipes like a spider. My head was spinning on my neck
like goddamn Linda Blair, I was spitting streams
of strawberry milk, I was frothing at the mouth. I have powers
no one understands.
With that she winks and blows me a kiss.
I show her the book I wrote about her
but she slaps it out of my hands and stomps on it.
Her satin and furs start to shiver on her bony shoulders,
and suddenly a ragged bird bursts from her bosom,
leaving a trail of dust and mites and glitter behind.
Her eye rolls wildly in its socket the way
my wife's does. The corner has frozen solid
and she asks if I have any money and I say
I already gave you all I have and she starts to scream
and I reach into my pocket, looking for more,
and somehow there always is.