My father did the killing and the cleaning up. In the fairy
tales he put me to sleep with, there were plenty of sweetmeats
and tigers for every journey. He shook them out of his hands,
or so I imagined. We thrill to admissions of uncertainty
in the narrative. We can’t get enough of people telling us they
don’t really know. It must have been my father also who
ripped the veins from the shrimp. Take with you a knife of
trusted edge. Discern in this line of sandy excrement where
you need to go. I awoke masked by spices, wrapped in silk
and the sweat of the hunt. Half a million years ago, someone
who called himself God ate my exoskeleton. He pared away
my fins but decided to let me live in whatever form came
next. The baseboards in this house still smell like rat poison.
Ann Linde has an MFA from the University of Minnesota. She has published poems in journals such as 42opus, Barrelhouse, and Comstock Review. Finishing Line Press published her chapbook, Courting Light. She is an adult-education instructor at Hennepin County Library.
“What Comes Next” appears in our Winter 2011 issue.