Buddha’s tooth

In sleep a witch
hands me a box of powder
labelled Against Monstrosity.

I say, for me?
and wake up

at 4:15
a mockingbird also wakes
to put in an hour’s hard mocking

I too will soon form
highly effective habits

for instance right now I’m typing as fast as I can

this bird’s repertoire
is not large

neither one of us knows
what should come next

digging up the shabby woods
at the end of the street

a far off train a faint
almost imaginary rooster
beyond the reach
of municipal ordinance

there’s no mirror over the sink only
a post-it that says you look fine

how can I tell if it’s safe
to leave the house

today’s talisman—choose from:
1. vulture’s pinfeather
2. lucky coin
3. buddha’s tooth

morning shambles
toward a new condition

boiled down to remedies
for migraine and possession—
where virtue gets you—ask
any scavenger

this box I was given
is it for me
or my neighbor

Published in Epigraph