Strangers come to caretake and her tongue
lies large and quiet in its crook.
Across the street black tin wardrobes and twin
mattresses lean against the old age home

and in next door's empty lot frilled weeds
flatten till they layer like a wing. Spiders rattle
in old leaves looking for food
while the strangers are off provisioning.

They cut loaves for sandwiches
she drags to school
past the Home, where paramedic vans leave
lights running, staining the wall

for split red seconds
want, I want, I want.
She must read the parents' slick-backed
postcards barefoot in the bathroom

after school after food. They will
they will. Suppers are bland
on her spicy tongue and at night
the window glosses red

with lights left running
in the rain; from the glass
comes tiny thunder.