Julia Cohen & Mathias Svalina
A Pinch of Black Pepper Means the Brother Misses Dinner

I’m a bloody Gretel & I rhyme with an apple. 
Mouse bones whistle behind the bookshelf.

My sick brother drops white feathers from his window.
The signatures on his cast disappear in the dark.

Ghost means a light shines where he once stood.
It means put the knife back in the drawer

& hiss. A finger puppet hidden beneath the pillow,
a child’s mouth warms the medicine spoon.

Balloons fall from the window & the doctor
watches them pop. A hair on the mirror means

the father sleeps under the sink. We must call the sick bed
the lion’s den. I sleep in the rose shack, waiting for him.

A father cleans the dust off the bleached pillowcase.
Two rib bones in the cypress leaves click in the wind.

Pink water in the metal sink means its time to change.
The fever rhymes with tufts of wool.

The river grows thin enough for the boy’s feet to dam.
You must discover what to do with the horror you’ve acquired.

I am a fox by midnight & a sheep when it snows.