When you still texted me things like
dream good dreams I confided once
that the night before I had dreamed
about severed hands. I had to hide them
I said I didn’t do the severing
but I thought someone would think I did
so I buried them everywhere
and you said um ok night babe and I feel
like I should’ve seen the forecast for the weather
under which you were tilling my lands
suspecting I wielded a secret knife.
You scoured for evidence and I panicked
in the shadowy dirt with the weight of believing
I had something to hide raining
onto my head and my scraping fingertips
in the clay echoing louder in the cavern
of my belly which I was too anxious
and busy digging to feed so my body
brittled and you touted this as part
of the proof you were seeking and of course
now in hindsight I see I should’ve shoveled up
every bloody appendage, applied generous salt
garlic and sage, fried them in the heavy
cast iron my best friend gave me for my birthday
she said so you can fill yourself up.
I should’ve piled them on my kitchen table
tasting slowly every last bite because even
the dark things thrown into our dirt
can be transfigured into what feeds.
I am not someone who is good.
I’m just someone seeking the unsavory
scraps of trying. I should’ve invited you over
to dine and when I offered you a taste and you
declined I would not have minded
Content and brimming, I’d have waved a hand
and said I’m going to bed, you can let yourself out.
Elise Ball is an artist and writer currently residing in Southern Appalachia, though she hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte, where she also serves as an editorial assistant for Qu magazine. Her work was recently featured in TulipTree Review and Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose.