It was a high river
For late summer.
We watched the boats
And searched for stepping stones,
But they were still underwater,
So we climbed high
To the trestle bridge instead.

My ears rang with the wind
That blew through that place,
And I tried to ignore the relics —
Disheveled maps,
A compass awry,
Sapphire blue paperweight,
Circle of gold.
I wanted to throw it all in.

The trains picked up speed,
And when we weren’t careful,
The rhythm would carry us.
So much smoke
Licked the wounded past.
I climbed a rusted fence,
Left a handprint in the mud,
So you’d know where I’d gone over.

Built up the fire
And struggled to unlearn lessons,
Find a new language —
A better frame
In which to set fading photographs.
I sat with it.
Watched the ghosts gather.

One needs a deep lung
To fuel a frenzied flame.
Burn it to ashes now —
The unhealed.
Bury it deep.
Mark it with a stone.
Let the watchers sing over it

Time is the full moon’s
Creeping cloud tendrils.
Half gone,
They bleed into the sky.

Leave an arrow here —
Waiting signal.
There’s a veined path
Cut by worms in the darkness.
More weathered wood —
A fresh fire beckons.
Unpin and flatten
The next map.
Follow the weed-grown path
Deeper in.



About Emily

I may or may not have: A. Dirt B. Ink C. Paint D. Wool under my fingernails.

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