I am child to no one, mother to a few, wife for the long haul. On fall days I am happy with my dying brethren, the leaves, but in spring my head aches from the flowery scents. My husband fills a room with Mozart which I turn off, embracing the silence as if it were an empty page waiting for me alone to fill it. He digs in the black earth with his bare hands. I scrub it from the creases of his skin, longing for the kind of perfection that happens in books. My house is my only heaven. A red dog sleeps at my feet, dreaming of the manic wings of flushed birds. As the road shortens ahead of me I look over my shoulder to where it curves back to childhood, its white line bisecting the real and the imagined the way the ridgepole of the spine divides the two parts of the body, leaving the soft belly in the center vulnerable to anything. As for my country, it blunders along as well intentioned as Eve choosing cider and windfalls, oblivious to the famine soon to come. I stir pots, bury my face in books, or hold a telephone to my ear as if its cord were the umbilicus of the world whose voices still whisper to me even after they have left their bodies.