What she doesn’t believe in
can’t **** her. She can’t
disbelieve the barrel hoist,
overgrown pirate hook,
heavy as cinder block,
or millstone - if she knew
the weight. The dog’s wolf
ears broad at attention,
its image a sun-yellowed
photo. Only half its barks
made a sound, as
the Deacon’s cap never
moved in the whirlwind motion
Of lift and descend, lift
And descend. His eyes
angry and lost, confused.
She has seen this before
dementia, the final stages.
But he was a different dementia.
Each swing he took,
she would flake off
into a pale rain of flour.
Settling on the damp
floor of the woods,
Her cells dirt-absorbed
Into nutrients, then nothing.
The Deacon followed the woodline.
His two hands hold the stone
like a mother from a burning room.
The dog moving at every inch
towards the heels of her boots.
His thick brown eyes pin
her shadow to the ground.
He dodges through the thicket,
Through tree, his fur forces
The path at bay. She isn’t afraid.
She’s tossing, not turning,
her attention to the man’s
ancient actions that fill the
forest thick with noise and fear.
Her pace a body dumped
into adrenal space,
a bulging branch pushing
Into her, she moves over
broken elm’s frame, the splayed body
of rot oak, of vines, of stickers
crossing the deer trails pulling
at her cheeks until the entire
landscape is her enemy.
In her last chance, she falls into
curses and memories of her
sister’s scared legs. The stove
Too hot; her mother too gone.
Salvation always comes too late.
She is still thinking of her date.
As she ducks back into the net
Of trees, the smell of camouflage.
How he called her ‘Suzy Angel”,
she thinks of him left in the
car. She’s not faulting him for
trying to ***** her. Quiet lunch
date at the old bar near the pond.
She tried to go back to help him.
The Deacon was still there, his form
catblack as the afternoon grew thick
deaf ears. The bar was too far down
the road, it was empty now,
devoid of a human’s life. Ghost born.
The bartender’s red hair pushed
into the Last Chance coasters.
A morbid reminder that prayer
has no place in the house of the unreal.
Hopkin’s Pond holds more hills
than the average Jersey landscape.
A scrape out of time, pinned
somewhere between suburban
sham and the endless exit ramps.
Its history poured back to the 1780s,
the Mill long since is gone, foundation
Buried in the thick ravages of mud.
The river that surged its body full, dead.
The shadow of the man that lived
there not. No child’s tale told if he was
A real Deacon, or whether the title
came later. Legends sound better
left unidentified, songs with no
real meanings. Verse, chorus,
The myth of a final ending. His dog
came after, black and shaggy,
loup-garou large and then willed back
into a farm dog - mixed lost wolf
plus pointer, Its teeth ragged as
the spur wheel that ground
The wheat down into grist.
No one wishes for this to be true.