I was ravenous. Insatiably so. So I ate the House again. The cedar shakes, warped shutters. Then the window and screens—spitting out glass.

The doors gave me piercing cramps, but I soldiered on. Eating the sandpaper roof shingles. Smiling with bits of chimney bricks in my cracked teeth—when the neighbors sauntered in; their mouths agape with shock or panic.

I devoured the living room next. The white sofa was especially delicious. I would no longer have to brush it clean with Woolite this weekend.

Then I attacked the kitchen. Greedily consumed the Fiesta ware that does not chip. Its saffron orange, peacock blue, eggshell white–and aubergine of particular note.

I ate the master bedroom furniture next. The antique poster frame bequeathed to me. All the Pollocks, a Klimt, a Cornell wooden box with straw, a doll and a globe; a light green and eggshell Rothko. The staring Mona Lisa. So there.

I sat in the rubble almost satiated—patting my burgeoning stomach. There was more work to do outside.

I ate the trees–starting with the dark maple, then the oaks, then poplar, hemlock, chestnut, hickory–and started weeping—not just for myself but for the plump robins, the annoying catbird even, yellow finches, woodpecker, pair of cardinals [male and female, of course], the nasty blue jays that swoop and take more than their share at the feeder [the bullies of the bird world that send the usually-fearless squirrels away]–

and my owl who seems to be writing a poem every night, just a few short-lined stanzas really, in hours of darkness, never at the same time [like the neighbor’s rooster that sleeps in ’til lunch or when the kids skip down the hill from the school bus or right before dinner time [eliciting chuckles at the table where the children have forgone their gadgets reluctantly–forced to speak, answer questions that pry, interrupt their magical adult-free world of friends and such].

My owl at the periphery of the property in the tallest pine that sways a bit in the wind  enough to make me more nervous than usual [its sister had fallen in its arms during torrential rains and wind gusts that August. I heard echoing gunshots, I thought, that paralyzed me into night’s heavy arms, cradled back somehow into dream–only to discover the next day when I drew enough courage to find, behind the row of wildly-overgrown forsythia, her thick arms snapped down].

Hawks alighted to the next-door neighbor’s tallest pines and witnessed the continuation of my feast–the crunching of the patio furniture that had rusted underneath three feet of winter snow. Half-heartedly, I ate the dog’s fence while he and the cat watched in disbelief.

I overcame my cruel impulse to devour the said menagerie of jumpy birds–their sanctuaries of wooden feeders, their new terracotta bath, their weathered houses, some with intricate, abandoned beehives; the triad of pink plastic flamingos that I’m sure the neighbors found tacky, a perhaps-true-fact, which I secretly enjoyed.

I knew that tomorrow I would wake very early from troubling dream patterns of avalanche and hurricane, I am sure, because of severe indigestion–my roiling viscera

to collect the sharpest sea glass in shades of lightest blues and greens, frosted white–that I had stolen from shores of sleepwalking–and string them on a necklace to keep the ghosts of the property at bay.

I would wait all through the morning hours, afternoon, and night–with the utmost patience this time–for my owl to starts singing his poem before removing the odd necklace–and bury it in the woods far from me.

I would make a pilgrimage to the priest, remove my shoes, and tell him everything. Of the sorrow tangled in my sea hair, my desire, at times, for unification.

When I return, I shall rewrite other possible endings that will begin.


All of this confuses me.




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