The dog began looking into my eyes and following me into the woods and laying at my feet. Together we knew that hunger is not funny. Sweat poured from every living being as fire choked in the muggy air. Sweat poured from the one making up Indian legends. Sweat came from me, made sick by the words in my own mouth, thinking I could jump in the river and they’d never find me, I could swim across. In the water I’d hide from the talk. I’d carry buckets of dirt to throw on the burning talk. I’d carry bottles of poison to douse on the insect talk. The sound that feeds on your blood. I’d grind down the talk when it fed on my blood. I’d smoke it out.

Hell is bugs all over you. Going through withdrawals is bugs all over. Insanity is bugs all over. And this place is bugs all over. The paradise woods become a hell with mosquitoes sucking on every part of your body. They land on poisoned skin to get a piece of you before dying. Huge itching welts mark every part of me. My lips go numb from the poison and bites. My eyes are swollen shut from the bites, and see only bits of cottonmouth words—thick brutal puffed up talk that tries to get in my mouth and my lungs and my heart, that tries to smoke out my insides. My nose throat mouth hurt from vomiting talk, until I remember that these are the sacred organs for creating words of truth.

This moist aching in the air is of the river. The sky of lightening and thunder will not bring rain. This air strings out your body: parts of skin thread out gradually into the surroundings, slow so as not to be noticeable. My finger tips thread out into the trees, painting wisps of skin along house edges. Layers of skin from my arms are pinched out onto asphalt, coating the streets with black oil.