Rats scribble behind sheetrock,
this farmhouse their only sanctuary.
They jot notes in the margins of our bedroom
where once I told you I made rent
three summers working as the snake lady
at a county fair. At midnight I’d rise from my pit
and buy all the vendors’ forsaken cotton candy
with dollars children whirligigged down
onto my scales, writhing with the forged magic
of the merfolk, the centaurs, and the harpies.
Clutching spun sugar bouquets, I’d kiss
the petting zoo goats and lambs funneled
toward their troughs and pine straw
and zigzag my entrance ramp. I’d vanish
into my trailer with the curtained window.
Somehow, after each show, I’d uncoil
into a warm-blooded woman again.
In the attic the rats tear hunks of insulation
into pink cumulous, a whole sky I’ll gather
by armfuls and climb back down into this life.