sleeping green bear

my hunger is eating the clouds out of the river
my hunger is building fires inside rocks
fires inside rollaway couches
fires inside the bodies of sleeping green bears
and i am down in the fire
with my fork and spoon,
the devil’s number under my hair,
and i can’t stop my hands or my teeth
from digging the face
of a fourteen year old saint
out of an old sleeping sunshine bear

i can’t stop my breasts from swelling
with your name
because your name is stacking up beside me
because the fires starting inside your name
are claiming me
because my hunger has eaten the power
from my muscles
my blood
my feet

and now i’m standing alone in a hallway
at four in the morning
feet walking all different directions
away from me
my hunger sucking on your heels
my hunger feeding on the old man grunt dreams
of a fourteen year old saint

and i can’t unroll my sleep
alone
by an open window
and a scratching post
i can’t pile my bones
alone on the lumpy earth
the hardwood floor
the raw mat
because my bones are screaming with unclothed hunger
in an unwashed pile alone in the hallway
at four in the morning

i didn’t know i was this hungry
i didn’t know i was this alone

wendy shaffer

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