Her first husband goes mute after she births
another man’s child, sets fire to the closest plantation,
and when his own fire can’t kill him,
she helps fake his death. Everyone performs
their grief until he can’t bear the stories and rises
from his casket, stumbles into the wild.
Her second husband leaves her at the cemetery where
she meets the third, laying flowers on his victims’ graves.
He fools her the same way every time,
but never punishes her the same way twice.
Her fourth marriage is a knife she uses to sever
herself from a Christ who never blessed her.
She keeps a clean pair of underwear in her purse,
a mirror in her wallet, and a napkin for the day he leaves her
for wanting to take what’s already been given.
Her fifth marriage, to a centaur with a roan body
and her first husband’s face, takes place in a dream,
a strange beguilement, a nightmare
curling pink at the edges. She wakes to the sour breath
of the general who covers her face with a hymnal and brushes
her thigh with his dead wife’s hair.
God never gave her a single usable passion, but did give her
sharp teeth and a strong jaw. She marries the police captain
leading the search. Each night he comes home
with no news of the missing and bicho geográficotracking
a crooked path down his back. She cuts the parasites from
his skin as he tells her about graves
unhoused, bodiless, some new terror authored by the devil.
The general lives, he’s sure, buried alive, subsisting on beetles
and storm water. When her seventh husband
appears out of the jungle nursing a red haired infant, weak milk
leaking from his nipples, skin cleaving to his ribs,
every shred of logic in her says, My love.