Unburied State of Life
Spread fingered, bent knuckle crawling, my hands
thrust deep in the moistened loam. I bring a handful
of fresh overturned earth up to my nose inhaling
petrichor, the first rainfall after days of sun blazing
warmth trapped in dark muddled grains of soil.
Dirt trickles between my knuckles, leaving behind a
tiny eyeless anvil skull. I delicately finger brush away
moist debris down to needle thin incisors, mourning
its wee demise. Such a tiny remnant to house the
smallest of brains, soul devoid. Not wanting to separate
the skeleton of this once living minuscule creature, I dug
tenderly around the excavated hand hole like an amateur
archeologist searching for fragile remains, toothpick
thin ribs or linked vertebrae trailing into a diminutive
curled tail. Instead I unearthed a hidden cache of mice
skulls, some long buried to brittle paper-thin husk, sinew
sewn tendons in different stages of rot and ruin, and one
lone eye not bug ate. Tiny skulls gathered in a state of
decay, but that lone eye defied any last composure
I held; judging scorn for the unburied state of life and
death. Unceremoniously I dig deeper, pawing dirt like a
dog after a bone and shoved the mess of skullage into
dark abhorrence. My calico coon lounges against
my knees sunbathing, amused. I’ve upended her plot
and lost the battle. Every mouse rescued
from her jaws, another felled to worship in the loam
skull pile. She would bless me in the richness
of the soil or the throaty purr of defiance.
These fragile bones of life and death.
Do plants feel pain?
Deadhead desiccated blooms.
I wince, plants whine.
Each removal a wound.
Cucumbers scream when sick;
To feel a part of you dead or dying,
a phantom limb, a missing.
Is this grief? Is Flora healthier
for the loss. Am I?
Flowers bloom among wilted
dead, thrive stronger
for the wounding.
inside this silence.
I don’t want to feel, touch
this dead sense. Grief stains.
I can’t sprout new ears,
deadhead body parts.
The trees tunnel roots to feed
other trees, butchered of limbs.
voices, knock on door.
Knock on wood.
Timbre sounds like timber.
We all fall down.
Tossing Pebbles Into the Abyss
There’s a cold palm on her forehead
Inside a dark thick as a coal miner’s shaft.
A bone chilling startled gasp fogs her breath.
Over her shoulder an oil hued woman
Reaches from beyond the grave through a canvas
Hanging behind an iron board.
Patina melting off her outstretched arm,
Turpentine splatter squelching out a body,
Dripping down into a kaleidoscope puddle.
A mass of bead strands clicking together.
Nails flicking against the door like tossed pebbles.
Weary whimpers turn into a halfhearted snort.
She’s stuck in a horrifying comedy cliché.
The house settles quietly around her still frame.
There are basement steps beneath her feet;
Damp air sucking exhaustion from her lungs.
Stillness is what she came down here for.
A momentary reprieve from barking dogs,
Arguing for arguments sake with anyone in earshot;
Swimming through floods of apocalyptic warnings.
News outlets streaming hate your neighbor,
And there’s a one tin soldier riding away with her mind.
Anything worth saying grew mold in her mouth.
Yet, she believed eventually the sun was going to stop
Dying so the moon could breathe.
After all love wasn’t a foreseeable guarantee these days.
Despair in a musty stairwell was the new normal,
With tendrils of light creeping beneath the door,
And shadow paws pacing a ditch of worry.
She reached up to turn the doorknob
Expecting it to fall off and bounce down the stairs.
Instead reality pounced and slobbered her face.
Behind her tomorrow was crawling up from the dark,
She slammed the door shut and slid the lock in place.
Soon enough to deal with the beast who ate her peace.
That ghost can paint itself dead again.
Becoming a woman at nine
Too young but Aunt Flo knows
Opinions are a dime a dozen
Long sleeves and skirts below knees
In any weather is a statement
Read the bruised tattoos on her skin
Eyes are ‘not’ the windows to the soul
Punching bags never had one
Skin suits housing a haunting
Her silence isn’t the loudest scream
Slaughterhouse animals squeal louder
What roils up a throat has a bitter aftertaste
With a touch of bloody spittle
No one is home upstairs at night
When the door creaks open
She blames herself
For pissing off god with childlike wonder
Getting over ‘it’ is a guilty conscience
Climbing over all the selves
Buried inside a little girl
She’s nine going on forever
Read the Scars
For every preconceived flaw
A heart shatters far too easy
Tongue’s knife blade language
Collecting stab wounds wider than
Cracks in a sidewalk breaking a mother’s back
Love is a useless talisman
Taking confidence hostage
There is no bruised family ego
A fist curls tight in the shape of love
Slapping silly out of laughter
Childhood disappears so easy
Remember Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs
Crows eating the path to salvation
Sapience dragged to an abandoned monastery
Despairingly choked like a dog chained outside
Where belief takes wing through the cathedral’s roof
We can’t sleep with hope anymore
Innocence drowned on the banks of puberty
The sky knows dawn always breaks darker
Before the light gets in
And mistakes are broken bones
We stopped remembering
How to play the blame game
Gambling with a lifetime supply of pain
Each game piece a gravestone
Memory plots six feet deep
With coffin nailed skinsuits