On Monday There Were Consequences

by Meredith Herndon

A rat lies dead under our stove for five days before
we find it. The smell is unbearable.
Rain comes in through the open window. A jury
deliberates. We feel hopeful.
Then, the liquor store closes, the shower starts to leak.
The cathedral burns. You ask me
if I believe in curses.
How can I answer? We wait
for a verdict. We empty our cabinets
looking for death. The news reports
they hear the witness screaming
after she gives her testimony. You sauté garlic
in butter to mask the smell. We gather
fallen fruit from the orchard next-door.
You ask me to bake a pie. I read they asked her
why she still wrote him emails, signed them love.
Keep looking. Keep pulling everything out
from its hiding place. Persimmons and apricots
so ripe they shine. The jury returns.
Everything is rotting.

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