Oni Buchanan
The Practice

Last night the moon followed me home
big and red and low, like a wounded ox.
It dragged itself after me with stertorous breathing.
It called names aloud hoping it would find my name in time.

Later, in my sleep, a girl had Pretty Poison, it was called.
A girl and her dog poisoned the entire village.
As a woman’s face blossomed into sores, I heard her shout
Leave me alone, clawing animal.  I can hear you

dying at the screen door.  Don’t look at me.
Don’t come close to me.  Get away from me.  
“At least I have you to talk to, invisible friend,”
I said to no one as I woke in the pitch.  

In my next dream, I killed a truly rotten individual I once had known.
I entered his room as he lay propped up in his invalid’s bed
and I slit his back open with a fishing knife.
I emptied out his body like a laundry sack, like a complicated

wineskin, like a pig bladder, and then, that no one would notice
he was gone, that no one would find his skin, I stepped
into it and pulled it over me.  Its gory warmth encased me,
rotting, decomposing around my own arms and legs and chest.  

My face was covered with his puffy face, and my cheeks
began to mottle with rot, the skin purpling and flaking
as the day wore on.  I kissed my husband with the dead man’s face
over my face.  Forgive me, I said in my dream.

And now, the loud light comes blaring through the light hatch.
Downstairs, I pass the plants struggling in dry soil.
The dust is languishing, perpetuating
on the living room shelves, on the tops of books, hundreds

of purchased, alphabetized books, chronological within author.
In the piano studio, the humidifier puffs its mist into the air.  
Rainbows shoot in sun rays from a crystal on the window
and burst on the white walls.  I step through some rainbows.  

Some show on my t-shirt and some on my skin, like beauty
I like to think.  I love it here, in the sunny room with rainbows.  
Like birds flying on the walls.  I love the sound
when it first enters the air, and how to shape the sound

lovingly like a glassblower shapes his molten glass, the loose
liquid molecules.  I check the time and record the digits.  
I sit on the bench.  I wring my hands.  I untangle my hands.
I lay them on the keys.  So it begins, the practice.