by Meghan Privitello

God prayed for rooftops and got the alphabet. Houses were to come first. Then umlauts. Then love. Instead, it starts with After and follows with Before. If ancestry is a tracing back, forestry must be a going forward. On a test: If (you pin a photograph of Artaud to a tree), then (matrimony). God watches while you rearrange your desires from Aching to Zero. There are __________ species that haven’t been named. If we do not name them, there will never be a record of their eyes. If I found I could love a child, I’d call her Olive, I’d eat her before the world ends. My mother is a house. She came first. Then gunshots. Then love. God is when you cry at your body. God is what the president calls a lo mejor. If my name starts with M, I am sisters with Morose, Moonrise, Machine. I remember when giving birth to animals meant a future of luck and hauntings. Haunting: an object that acts out in terror. Memory: an emotion made of string. God calls you terrible names. You still show him your noose. Loss is what comes after xylophone. Xylophone is how we strike our longings into sounds, how our violence sings.

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