Neighbor: Miss Peach’s Body Didn’t Turn Out Right

But whose did? She’s crumpled where she’s supposed to be unfolded,
something bad written on a piece of paper. Her walking
is a devolution that hunches and shrinks everyone
as she moves up the tree-lined street. I’m on my porch waving to my neighbors
and having one of those honeyed afternoons when I don’t know who I am.
I know everything else, though, and it’s ringing in my head. Then there she is
in a pool on my front steps, laughing, asking about lunch, as if the bones
of at least four different animals weren’t loose inside her, scurrying this way and that.
Someone needs to find her a place to live, a hidey hole we can cram food in
and get away from quickly. We could call her part bird
and be done with it. But everyone is dying right under the surface these days,
especially around the eyes. Death has crawled up into the face
to nibble away whatever blocks its view of the stars.
We’re riddled with it. It’s pulling our flesh
into outrageous, unwilled positions, like the huge smile on my face
as I lift her onto my lap and hold her together for a minute
before I tell her she isn’t welcome here.

Catie Rosemurgy, “Neighbor: Miss Peach’s Body Didn’t Turn Out Right” from The Stranger Manual. Copyright © 2010 by Catie Rosemurgy. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press,
Source: The Stranger Manual (Graywolf Press, 2010)
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