by Renwick Berchild

Pieces of me didn’t break. Socks I didn’t roll, shirts
I didn’t fold. Hardly limbed, I carried
each cup of malice in my clenched teeth, and scoured lands
on ten quadrillion purring wheels, a wave of
stampeding machinery, throwing up trees.
I stuck pigs, quieted brooks and rivulets, took their babblings
and squeals onto the empty moors at night and
buried them in muddy wells, silently slipped each bone below,
and I could hear the slopping
of each fall. Whatever is making way
through each of these veins
is of no concern. I elongate the summers and days, sulfur
seeking shelter in my armpits, I slay
on kneecaps bent backward with a lance of compacted memory,
a mere prick imploding every eye
that catches glimpse of me.
If I had the will, I should say
that I’d snap my spine and pour the marrow into fertile soil,
have grow my child, have her be wild like her mother, and prowl
over men and women, her nude shape disfigured
like a flame bowing in a blow.
And I know, that a craven man is a ghost, and a cowardly woman
an echo. If I were to bash my skull upon a rock, and have
the cerulean shadows ease themselves from the cracks,
there would be an influx of the fainthearted, babes born war-torn
and with shaking hands. Hands
like my hands, that shiver round the smoke,
that quake whilst holding the spoon,
lined and pockmarked, and seared from orange stove burners;
it all in my hands, my nose fairly sloped from pressurized time.
My back the mountain, I have never climbed myself
and survived.


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