For Catherine Theis.

1/13: Sono tornato, come home once more, City of Big Teeth
and adopted you
plague bearers, some say. I feed you blood
oranges anyway,
carciofi alla Romana del viaggio a Roma,
verde herbe speronato in gola,
di all that I know.
You eat the artichokes like I ate Rome.
Neither of us healthy.

1/17: A hard winter for us
the cold has adopted me, and you cling to pomegranate
like I latch onto Mommy.
Ho mal di testa, mal di memoria
ma the cold clears out the strange space between my ears.
Do you want to keep them?

1/24: I have candied my seeds and memories and
made you granola
same as a Roma
and your little eyes eat the nuts from behind your cave,
sneaky tail raw over shriveled apples.
I scream, “Why don’t I eat?”

1/28: They cannot crack my nuts open.

2/4: I was busy, and now you strip my bean quickly—
I’m afraid you’ll be dead soon.
I give you a crust of focaccia, a broccoli stalk,
I am narcissistic.
I take you out and cuddle you self-consciously.

2/6: I sign to you
Like that rat whisperer Francis,
A pied pallor I tried
And your reluctant tongue on my finger:
Something I could not foresee bends my melting mind.

2/9: You rats have eaten everything.
You sweet cutes have eaten wily red pomegranates,
vicious apples,
candied butternut squash,
rusted ginger,
forgotten seeds of blackberries,
shat out seeds of raspberries,
snippets of photography papers drowning in drains,
and the vile boar’s head that hunted me.
Something fills in my ears.

2/13: Now your begging is kisses. Little tongues glisten behind scary teeth.
By Robert Eric Shoemaker, Typo Beet