Self-Portrait At Ten

By Rozane Beth Johnson

A boarded-up house. Ransacked inside — broken glass and toppled tables, chairs overturned, books shaken for hidden money.

There are mouths in dreams full of gold teeth, chewing bread and meat. The body is hollow as flame and will burn down anything if pointed straight.

A bird flies in through the door, then flutters at the window. Although he is tiny, I am too afraid to help him escape.

I’ve made myself another house. I hum to fill its empty rooms. I fold in like saloon doors closing, then swinging out, keeping out thieves.

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