Claire Hero





First, there's a hatching

in the crawlspace, the kindling


of hair. Something getting out

of hand. Then, riots in corners.


Water-scrawled walls. She's aware

of the changes, the ringing


round her eyes, fur around her mouth.

Unbecomingly a foxing. A murk


at the center. Something

is eating at her. Located in the velvet.


Dressed out like an animal,

she thistles and fickles. She fawns


in a murmur of milk. Grows feral.

Febrile. Soft as the inside of teeth.





After the demolition of skirts, the salting

of beds, after the spectacle of fingernails

and the binding of thighs, I unclasped


the sternum and opened this cabinet,

this hush under the skin. Rust in the limbs.

A Ferris wheel spinning in a weedy lot.


That was the year I broke every window

with my want, the year the sea went hoarse

and flowers spoiled in their vases.


How shabby the past looks when you come

upon it by accident, like some botched trophy.

Mould on the upholstery, a baggie full of teeth.


After the digging, after the swerve,

after the path was devoured in a wilderness

of mouths, I folded all the remnants


into birds, into boats, into little white trains.

It was then I took to reading in stairwells,

sewed up my pockets, nailed shut my hands.







In the end, every house is all but sand.

Once, you traded in for larger, newer models, and now

your hand fumbles, turns,


as tumblers to the lock. Grit to the tide.

You've learned to make do. Pearl

and otherwise. Chambered, calcified,


the world is a curiosity

you scuttle through, isolate and hoarding.

From davenport to dust.


Each rafter a raft. But there is more

to growth than movement, my hermit,

my hatchling. More to home than door.


Lift this house to your ear. What knocks

in the vestibule. What haunts in its hinges.