Needle to thread. Scythe to wheat. Foot to pedal. Hammer and 
sickle. Work, work, work. She has three sisters. At dusk she drinks tea. 
From the silver belly of a samovar. In the dark she drinks vodka. She 
takes a lover who smells of fresh meat and the pines. The hunt is on 
him, like his tongue on the crest of her sex. Like the little forest of 
white down on her breasts. On the nape of her neck. A hunger 
grows. Grows inside her. Note: She is not hungry for him. He is a 
symptom of that hunger. An empty cup she could keep replenishing. A 
clue: bread crust, apple core, chicken bone. Wishbone. Knowing three
 languages is a useless luxury in this town. A sort of unwanted 
appendage. A sixth finger. She can’t remember the Italian for 
window. She climbs the ceilings. The water spouts. She eats 
strawberries, using her lips like a blind girl uses her fingers. Little 
match girl. Little lamb. Little shoe. Black boot. Achoo. A little red 
wine? Red Riding Hood. All the better to see you with. To read you 
with, my dear. Follow. Over the river. Through the woods. To the sea. 
Knees deep in the salty water. To the island of Crete. To Tunis. To 
Florence. To Russia. To Moscow. Finally. Finally, you say, to Moscow. 
She will arrive on that page. That splendid stage of trajectory. Of 
destiny. Destination. She is splendid. Sexy. Oh baby. She is Little 
Miss Adjective. She will wear her best black dress. Sings a soft song 
when she walks. Syllables of silk, of organza and tulle say hush, we 
are almost at "The End." She wears a veil of Swiss lace. Real, they said 
about the lace she was wearing. Little accents, little umlauts, tiny 
apostrophes like snowflakes sting her cheeks. She does not blush. 
She makes the sign of the cross. She makes a date. With hunger. 
With the great black cloak of a train. But this time she doesn’t lie 
down. She refuses to make her bed. To spill her blood like children. 
She doesn’t set herself on fire. She won’t sign her name or spell you 
her secrets. She won’t uncross her legs. She opens her mouth 
instead. She opens her mouth and she. She eats. She eats it all: 
porters, nannies with babies, the tracks, the coal, the iron, the ore. She 
dines for pages, for chapters. Eating paper, drinking the sweet black 
ink, wiping her mouth on her sleeve. Then she eats her best black 
dress and so she is naked. And so she is huge. And it is you, it is you 
she is holding like an open book, well-loved, in her hands.

Poem from The Drowned Girl, reprinted with permission of Kent State University Press