The Monarchs are swarming and it’s only the beginning of August. The maple leaves that over hang the deck look different. The air has changed. As if each is saying: death is everywhere. I saw you the other day. On the other side of the street. You had to see me— my hair is wild flames, you always said how it burned your skin when we made love. Why didn’t you look over? Lift a hand to wave or just give me a little nod? Would that have killed you? But maybe you are already dead in that deep center, the place I tried to find warmth; somewhere to burn me the way you claimed I burned you. Didn’t you know I died to be burned? It’s our critical difference. You like it cool, detached, you like things severed, even your food. I ate my Cornish hens whole and you scattered from the kitchen like I am a cannibal. You’re a man. I thought men ate things whole: wiggling fish fresh from the lake with beer chasers, partridges shot right out of the sky to be wolfed down, flecked wild mushrooms with bugs that hugged their tight pleated ridges, scary and dark, picked off the forest floor. You didn’t look my way. You looked straight through other people’s backs.