when you swallowed a town
Leah Poole Osowski

It took seven days for the changes to churn. Thirst brought a taste of metal and
the elevated feeling of climbing water towers. Sheep huddled in your joints,
muffled the clicking, and your scars smoothed over like re-paved roads. You
gave up coffee for rush hour and slept like an abandoned coalmine under the
layers of a whole population at rest. Parades were better than sex. But during the
heaviest hour, the wax moths and wet lawns, you’d cry out in runaways,
nightgowns and backpacks skirting around your corners. Graffiti brought color in
the beginning until the tarter came, and infidelities stacked up above your ears in
migraine patterns. You lost your hair with the geese. It’s too much you
whispered, shoplifting castor oil and waiting for an evacuation that never came.
You tried roller coasters and holding your breath upside down to no avail. On the
last Friday of the month you took fire to your house, drank the smoke like a
gallon of fresh air until you felt the whole hive of them calm. You apologized
with singed lips and asked them to leave. They packed quietly in the night. You
were a ghost town by dawn.