Gabrielle Otero

In the country I am told
rats are called field mice
and cops are called sheriffs.
This makes them seem harmless
like everything else outside the city.
When I get tired of being small
I drive north to where tree tips
prick the clouds like crowfeet
and red does not mean stop, just look.
Where light means fireflies caught in beer bottles
and fire is another word for your own eye.
Where Taghkonic used to mean in the trees
before there was a road needing a name.
I take it all the way to the end
until the curves diminish like damp leaves.
Where small is what you get when you
file something down to its root.