by Jessica Otto
She has black dirt on her face.
The ruins of a garden plucked
for winter stain her hands.
She has scratched that greenery free
and bathed in the empty
soil, praying for next year’s harvest
of bare arms and thighs.
She rubs the flesh of the earth,
places stones in her mouth
careful of her teeth
though she knows
this is ritual.
Her tongue rolls in the grit,
Hips turn the ground like a spade.
She says, “I will starve myself for the gods
so I can grow poison in the spring.”