THE GARLIC ROASTER’S WIFE 

It’s easy enough to lure myself
out of my house
if I tell myself
that I may run into
you.

When in reality,
it’s only ever your ghost
who greets me
when I walk in
a door.

I am a wool and leather woman
with bulbs of garlic
in her pockets,
warding off the men
whose mouths
make me nervous.

Have you ever imagined
someone else’s
distorted face
when you see the
back of a head
so familiar
that you shiver,

a fear of a shadow
shorter that my own stance
I don’t dare
get too close.
Because I can smell the wood
burnt by saw blades
every time I see
a pair of Levi 501s.

In my back pocket
is the number of a woman
who swears
she can rid me
of my demons,
Hair like my mothers,
I believe her when she tells me
I haven’t yet
learned my lesson.

How many more solitary seances
can I have
wrapped up in my bedcovers?

Later, I pull the stems
off of white mushrooms
filling bowls of garden scraps.
Your dead grandmother’s handwriting,
your dead grandmother’s hands,
guiding me
to my white casserole dish,
holding me back
when I imagine
Sylvia Plath’s children
asleep in their beds
while she leaned
into the fire.

How many dead poets
can I pray to
on the nights I fear
my own life?

Too afraid to walk
past the mirrors,
I build a cathedral
with walls so like
my own rib cage
that I want to
place my heart
on the altar.

Take the knife
to the muscle,
sliced thin strips
laid carefully
in cast iron,
butter,
sage,
squash.

And again,
I am making a meal
of myself
to feed anyone
who looks hungry.