Pica

by Krista Halverson

This eighth month I have been painting women. Gesture
Juncture, profiles next to apples, in poses that embarrass
Me. This one cracks her knuckles on the back of her neck, stares

Like the plump sister in another wash–arm raised overhead
Like a crescent roll. Same skin
Slipping over her jaw, same monochrome and glaze,

Poised, like she could never think of breathing,
My doctor tells me to explore, play music, buy yellow–for a boy
Or a girl. Explains why I hold mouths full

Of soil, bite my tongue until my eyes run,
And take small swallows of warm grit. She calls this Pica,
Which condition bothers women, mainly, She knows

A woman whose husband found her digging clay
From under a cold rock; she ate the roots of her Geraniums.
The hair on this girl looks like roots. She smells like me, like paint
And that hole in the wood floor where the oil drains.