Patrick William Jackson
Ruthanne

Her razor blade lips keep each word bleeding
as they breathe away from her, staining her teeth.
Mumbling.
Eyes weighed down by those sewing-thread lashes,
the needle interfering when she tries to blink.
So she keeps them open, wet and dry, screaming eyes.
When she stares at the fridge in the mornings
the old orange cat plays with her hair,
knotting it into tangled nests like yarn or a dead dog.
When she sleeps, the old cat chews at her open fingertips,
twitching in dreams.
At noon they are bandaged as she stands at the door
and hands the children their mints.
By three they are seeping as she bears the dull knife
hard into her food.
She is getting worse at grating cheese.