The Pit to Dig

Rachel Lake

Like being a girl when she’s lying
on the bed in a room with all the windows
open and the breeze cool against
aloe-slathered red skin, nipples stiffened
into hard little knobs, a night full of cricket
legs plucked together before the frantic mate.
The sparrows that swarmed at dusk and fell
silent, how many of them slipped from their roost
at night to watch intestines detangle
from a mouse’s body into a cat’s open jaw?
It’s almost action without thought, this bearing witness
with the lights out in an old and empty house,
when the shadows drift as close as cigarette smoke,
hang slack between curtains. Disappearing behind
the tree line, yellow-eyed inside the hedges,
I’m like a girl until I’m not girl-like any longer
until my body becomes the pit to dig.

Rachel Lake is a graduate of the Sarah Lawrence College MFA program and lives in Queens with her partner and two cats. Her work has previously appeared in Bodega, Spry Literary Journal, Stone Highway Review, and Glassworks. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and poems. To reach Rachel, you can email her at She’d love to hear from you!