Nothing Is Created

Born again (again), she cannot forget what she has learned: the endless plain, the topless mountain, the ocean of trees, the frozen desert, the rain of fire, the mud that burns, the ash that bears witness. She is plagued by ghosts and demons, the endless armies of shade that throng the world invisibly. She cannot move without tearing them, cannot breathe without choking on their insubstantial fog, cannot weep without birthing more.

She weaves a broom and sweeps the road before each step to scatter them; praises God before eating or drinking to clear a space; begs forgiveness before tossing anything away. It is barely enough, if that; she feels like a diver trying to scoop the water out of her way, if water had a face like a dog and a body like a monkey and a voice like house on fire.

She knocks three times on the jamb before opening a door, scatters salt at the table and the threshold, leaves bowls of mingled blood and milk on the window sill, wears coral and brass close to her skin, chews lavender and anise root after every meal. That last doesn’t do much for the dead, but it does freshen her breath.