by Hannah Craig

Real action, real event: Man puts on ąkkąpa-ri.
Non a-priori phenomena: Man becomes an opossum.
     Here's a real girl, honey on her fingers.
Less the price of one movie ticket, cheeseburger,
tank of gasoline. And this is real fear--standing at her window,
watching you go.    How's she know
when she puts on the skirt, she won't become a pelican?

I know people, not facts. The bluff backside
of a man stuck in a drain-pipe. Boy on a red bicycle.
Dead woman in the sewer. Eaten. Transformed.
Here's a real situated reality: Payakan, with two pennies to his name
stands in the men's hut. The young fishermen
are mocking him for his bad teeth, for his two very ugly wives.
He places the kutop over his face. An elevatedradialdiadem.
A radiant crown of claws, feather. First there was an ngina

and she whispered, eat corn. Second there was a jaguar
and she said we are all parrots; twins are birds. The word for
"black" also means "dead." You fly among the branches
to the sun.     Conversation tilts until she knows,
without knowing. Goes into the bathroom to throw up.
You disappear; leave a ten on the table.

Outside. She sees a pigeon. Red-feet, trembling. She sees
a spider scaling the brick-wall. Scuttled. Suddenly
she feels like a turtle. That's not the same. You put
on the white dress, and you BECOME.

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