I should have followed the pigs
over the cliff.
Cast myself into their wriggling bodies,
trotted on cloven hooves into the abyss.

Standing here,
watching my many faces flee this minister,
this saviour with his bag of pills,
his soothing recommendations for recovery.

What does he know about these precious imps and
their hoary dances in my mind?
I have tasted my own blood from their mouths,
their passion has consumed me with voices.

This tricked-out Nazarene's pointy needle
draws me under. I cannot hear their singing.

I lie on the edge of myself
waiting for their whispers to return,
waiting for the herd to lift itself from the waters,
to slip past these preachy police and their vile opiates.

They sneak their twisty pink bodies under my tongue.
I am very still.

I swallow,
swallow their sweet swine liquor.
I follow,
follow them to the deep interior places where
those white-shoed angels cannot shine their lamps.

I spread myself in the damp darkness.
Their tiny feet cover me.
Their thousand mouths open against my ears and I fall

into their symphony.

Rebecca Cook


after she had him followed
after she caused a scene
after she cried forty days and nights
after she cut off his hair
after she tied his feet together
after she questioned his lineage
after she poisoned his soup
after she cut up his children
after she turned the others against him
after she was dragged kicking and screaming through the streets
after her wrists became infected
after her nails were removed
after her tongue was removed
after her nails grew back in
after her tongue grew back in
after he stuffed her inside a man's rib
after she opened the man's eyes
after she savored the core
after she ate his trees

he let her go.

Rebecca Cook
REBECCA COOK is a teacher of composition, ESL writing, and the humanities at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She has new work forthcoming in Northwest Review. Her essay, "Soaping the Stream," published in the May 2002 issue of Northwest Review, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. This is Rebecca's third appearance in TAR. E-mail
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