By Mason Borchardt
Lure me into the deep, pathless woods.
Let me stir up the darkness with the soles of my feet
My head is cast iron, red-hot.
Throw something in, see if it catches, cauterizes.
I think I remember a story.
A lost traveler.
Sliced the tail of a sleeping beast.
Is there pleasure in the pain of being by myself?
No pocketwatch to inherit, no traditions to keep
Take me to the forest, let me slice that darkness out.
Like the Tailypo, like the pig’s throat.
Dropped into a bubbling red sea.
Let me feel the weight of something my parents carried, solitary.
Collecting its shards into my basket.
Wrapped gently in checkered cloth.
If we are to remain delible, welt the oaks, woe is us.
If we are to remain delible, why make a mark at all?
My mother keeps a bottle of wood duff on her nightstand.
Dirt from the grave of my sixth great grandmother
Buried somewhere lost upstate.
The gravestones, a flush of fly agarics.
Something that only reveals itself after an autumn rain.
Cold that sets into your bones
I felt their eyes on me, every single one.
Blank stares begging me to answer why I let my forbearers crumble away.
Soil littered with limestone, lead-white.
Walk away, let them sleep once more.
Everything eats and gets eaten.
The buck-thorn will inevitably encroach, what we uncover is in the interim
Time is fed.
Who exactly are we running from?
If I am the product of my ancestors’ suffering
I worry that I am the comet everyone turned skyward for.
I worry that I’ll think about what they would think.
I won’t think about what they would think.
And I can’t