Tale in the Forest

Out there, it is dark.

We care about the shapes and the shadows in the bark

of trees; around the fire we share

insights and thoughts on the permanency of a ripple in the river.

We wield stories like armour.

 

And once in a while we stop and think–

think about the nauseating oozing pulsing swirl of it all

but we stop.

We wield stories like armour.

You on the horse, me up in the tower;

us crying to each other: SAVE ME, but

it does seem no one had the thought to draw up some rope, a plan, a bridge, to bring

a sword.

 

It’s dark, out there.

Loose

To have fingers of feathers and fluff—

The horror of it.

 

It is to see many sights slip,

Many people go,

Never to know

what greatness should have descended,

or what shame, had I only the strength

to hold on. This uncertainty

is a maddening mass of black holes.

Human Nest

An ant colony grows in me.

Starting at the heart, the queen in her chamber,

the children

venture out into the world,

the unspoken masses of flesh and guts.

One stream into my head, the other down my spine,

they climb, seeming to respect

the branched framework of my veins

and habits, the way they were. They

are many.

Then they begin to gnaw and gnash,

curious, trying out the goods–

immune system shoots up and down the river of blood

chasing what it cannot devour.

The queen rises, and takes her place:

nestles deeper into my bones.

Pedestals and Tractors

You are the best in your field,

the school field: dusty, dry and dead,

the children, assembling,

the race tracks, never used.

Liminal space is a trying time;

you were never taught to try.

You cry out

the names of the lines that stratify

the layers of boys, and of girls,

because you were not built to run.

The tractor comes. Nobody moves.

Nobody cries, but they

lie in the sand as they die.

 

You are the best in your field.

You are limited.

 

Rationalisation

She gets weird in love. She grows

horns, and a tail, a bit too much heart.

It’s unnatural, at least, it feels so.

So now she doesn’t do it

very often.

 

She watches couples

on the street, online,

on the rocks, on mountaintops.

She watches intertwining fingers–

symbiosis, like creepers on a tree

or the ocean and the shore,

or sweet silence.

(Or at least, it feels so.)

 

Memory deceives us.

The Fishing Girl

Her wind-worn knees grow into the grass

that yellows softly beneath her.

 

She has been catching dinner

for years and years.

 

The number of fish she has let slip by–

how many is that, now?

The number floats in her mind

like a corpse belly-up,

decaying and stinking every thought it touches or

does not touch. For instance,

that desperate thrashing tango she imagines will be unavoidable

when she lifts her food out of the water, and contemplates eating it.

It reeks of blood.

 

How many is that now?

A sliver of precious silver

moves on down the river, the outstretched fin

a paper boat.

It moves on from her.

Composition

They were just bucketfuls

of impressions and images made vivid,

to bestow upon them the legitimacy of memories,

and other such fuzzy, uncertain things. They were

overflowing with a nothingness deep and thick,

you could reach both arms into it,

go up to the neckline in it, fall into it, breathe in it, die in it.

You still wouldn’t find the bucket.

Sprout

One has to stuff their face with dirt to feel full,

truly full, the loam warm against the stomach,

and earthworms, cleaning out the gut–

to feel allowed, to feel worthy, for

if there is so much of you that is filled,

then you deserve the space.

So you chomp down magazines with the sparkle and gloss,

no tears and no crying, no trying, no loss.