I live in a city encircled by fire.
The ants are buzzing.
I’ve acquired a rifle from the honeymaker’s son,
who’s late to the wedding
again. Every time mother washes her hair
down the drain, a plate of figs appears
on my ottoman. They’re sweet as children
in a river of mud
with their mouths open wide like baby birds
on an autopsy table. Little fluorescent ribs
smoke like a notion of home. I was there once,
in the retina of a mouse, helpless
as a horse on springs, dead man’s face
on the pillow next to mine.
Nothing will ever taste as good as that.
I’ve run out of ice. My spoons
are losing blood.
Derek Annis is a neurodivergent poet from the Inland Northwest. He is the author of Neighborhood of Gray Houses (Lost Horse Press) and the associate director of Lynx House Press. Their poems have appeared in The Account, Colorado Review, Epiphany, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review Online, Poet Lore, Spillway, and Third Coast, among others.