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is what holds tight
the more than 250,000 miles of dry
-laid stone wall
that runs timelessly
throughout New England—
they are the life-
preserving veins,
The oxygen we breathe,
each stone is set
one over two,
two over one.
the compassion of one compels
The physics of two.
as we parted ways
in the early snow
that evening now
so far afield yet
i recall
your casual
hello mistaken for
circumscribed absurdity
that i adore
my fingers
became interlaced
between yours
despite the
years and so many
painfully memories
the lot of which
ferried away
into the broken
the innocence
of youth
that had i
from that day to this
that i again
would stand
near you
upon that precipice
that overlooks the
deep summer chasm
where quiet
meetings between
old friends
dissolve in the
soundless yawp
of real and boundless
The words meant nothing to me.
Said plainly over a dinner plate.
The following morning was a Sunday.
I awoke next to a stranger.
I’m in my bed, although I can’t be sure.
I remember that our hands were clasped.  
The crepuscular rays of the sun.
Washed over the mottled linen bed sheets.
I did not move.
As the slow decay of skin cells.
Floated about the gloom.
Fearful to make even the slightest sound.
It was peaceful to watch her sleep.
I could trace her features unnoticed.
Those uncompromising lines.
That stretch out for miles and miles.
Beneath the impenetrable heap.
Her body still bore the perplexing mystery.  
Her shallow breathing rose and fell in curious cadence.
A bird called from outside the window.
Beyond the window laid another dimension.
Of that I was certain.
I now know I don’t know.
An avalanche of brown hair spilled across the pillow.
A lock gently touched my shoulder.
I know I don’t know.
It’s too beautiful.
I find her beautiful.
Softly, womanly, but I know.
Hidden in the between places.
Of her creamy folds.
I can smell the vile.
The living molds.
That wrenching scent.
The dead scent.
I think I can’t possibly love her, can I?
Not like this.
Not now.
Bitter was the taste.
The nectar that flows.
Savage from her face.
And across her toes.
Meeting jaggedly always in the folds.
Hidden in the lines of her smile.
And in the lines of her crows’ feet.
Between the white and yellowed sweat-stained sheets.
Lies the sweat-stained mare.
Her bulbous dark *******.
That capture the dull, blank wanton glances of lesser men.
Twice her age.
All men are lesser men.
Their smiles trickle down the inside of her leg.
Trickling out.
I can’t love her, I think.
She is unclean.
Very unclean.
Yet I want her.
To take her within me.
The carnal want.
To hold her body, close to mine.
In my trembling.
Hands ravenous.
Against her soul.
In this gentle light.
Of this gentle dawn.
How I wish I were.
Not a man but something other.
Something more.
Like a god of man.
But, she is not worthy of a god.
As I am no god.
We are no good.
We are of one flesh.
Made from the other’s bone.
Our bones.
Are all we leave behind.
So, when she wakes.
I’ll already be gone.
The Moon and Sun shared Ecliptical Longitudes the night They murdered The child.

Beneath a stelliferous empyrean,
Like Sojourners among the quiescent Twilight, Mother and child, Ventured to meet the woman’s husband, the father of the child.

She, no more than five and ten years Old,
The child, a girl, of only months,
Lay swaddled across the Woman’s
*****, tucked inside a papoose.
A rustic device carefully woven
From wool and hide, in it contained a
Priceless world.

She cooed and clucked in the frigid
Night air.
The sound penetrated the
Spectral calm and was matched only
By the maternal soothing of a muted hum.
Together, they represented the
Heathen form of the wilderness,
The Tempi Madonna among the
Silver and shadow moonbeams that
Glimmered like the dust of diamonds
Across the river’s obsidian sheen.  

Ahead, where the river narrows,
The silence stirred and was broken.
Hushed voices rose from the outer
The woman strained to listen.

(British Soldiers, she thought)

Foreign words...

        (Drunken and ravenous)

                         ...slithered from their mouths like Venom. Fear bloomed in the woman’s Chest.
Her heartbeat quickened.

        (Touched by the chill of terror)

Her eyes darted madly about the

         (Alone no longer)

Their  shadows manifested like
Smoke along the tree line.
Features blurred in the darkness.
Their gestures muted.
Like birds of
Prey, they set motionless upon their
Perch along the stony shore.

I say, a man said. Indian children are natural born swimmers,
Capable at birth of swimming great distances.

Utter foolishness, old boy, another opined.

We will need proof of this claim, my good sir, an anonymous voice Quipped from somewhere in the dark.

She let escape from her full lips
The tiniest of shrieks.
Followed immediately

(stupid girl, her mother’s voice echoed in the dark.
                             You always were too impulsive.)

Rage consumed her as
She struggled against the current.  
She tried to paddle for deeper
Water as the men broached
The black sheen of the river.

The moments passed by
In jagged surrealism.
There was no sound
When they pitched the woman
And child into the
Frigid abysm.

The splashing of water.
The gasping
For air.
The primal
Grapple and
Grunt of men.
The cold, pungent scent of
Fear and sweat mixed with the
Alcohol-stale air.
The twisting of
Hands that groped about the

         (Her rage now eclipsed by fear)

She inhaled.
Her body, numb.
Her appendages quaked.
Her body fading
As they fall upon her.
Their thick bodies
Blacked out the stars.
Their gaunt faces
Pinched and rucked in the
Reflected the fury, the
Hatred, and
The disgust for what would come next.
Their hands moved across her
Like demons as they
Groped at her small body
Beneath the choppy wash of the

(A hand grazed her thigh and she shrieked in Terror. Another
         gnashed at her buttock. Another fell upon her back. Her mind
         reeled at the possibilities of what would need to come next.)

They tore at her clothing.
Her body jarred about the water as
She writhed against their grasps.
She clawed against the murk.                  
         (Escape the horror)

She released the paddle—

(Forever lost to the deep, useless to her now)

Hysterical animalistic thoughts
Trounced off their tongues as they
Laughed at her doom—

        (Like a pack of hyenas)

She kicked at them in nameless
She thrusted her hand into
The fabric where the child had been
Moments before cooing and clucking. 
Mere moments ago she had sang to the
Babe the same song her
Mother had once sung
To her.

             (she felt nothing where the child had been…)    

She struggled away from them.
Her mind frantic with pain, the cold,
And panic
For the child.
She no longer cared for
Herself, or what they would need to
Do with her body.
Her appendages
Flailed and churned in the dark water.
         (A single gasp of air followed by
              The burning inhale of water)

A shrill call to the child—

(a name lost to time)

Her voice cut through their maniacal
It echoed off the water and vanished,
Disappearing entirely
In the outer gloom of the wilderness.

        (like afterthoughts, lost)

She groped relentlessly among the
Water for the child.
The men, near
Frozen, lost interest and returned to
The adjacent shoreline.
It was more ****** that way.
They jeered at her,
Proud of themselves.
        (The seething lust of the mindless savage, she thinks)

Their mouths salivate
As they watched
Her struggle
Became the current
For which she bore.
The impending death of the woman even
More satisfying than the feeling against their flesh of her cunning, wet crease that lies exposed between
Her brown legs.
They watch like wolves
Unable to reach their prey,
Desperate for fresh meat.
Despite the frigid cold,
Their *****, hard,
With the anticipation of death.

The woman clamored among the darkness
She searched for the child.
Heavy fingers fell upon woolen fabric
By chance—

(Hope bloomed in her constricted chest)

Her body finally beginning to seize
Exhaustion permeated
Her mind.
She freed the papoose
From the frozen depths and expelled
The last bit of energy she possessed
To swim to the far side of the shore,
Temporarily out of their reach.

The soldiers,
Quiet now,
Returned to the spectral woods.
They disappeared back down the
Black road from which they came.

She felt the blood as it began to
Return to her appendages, the pins And needles feeling erupting in them.
Her teeth clattered nearly exploding In her mouth.
Her body
Quaked Violently

         (The child, near in her mind, cried)

She reached for it.
Her chest,
Rising and
Rapid like the river
As she inhaled the burning,
Frozen air.
The child let loose a cough and  
She clutched it
tighter to her *****.  

(Deny the river its prize)

A stream of consciousness,
Steadily slipped from her lips.

       (A great heathen prayer calling up some
                       Great Spirit
                                As she relentlessly brokered
                                            For a
                                       Life for a life)

The moments passed by like hours.
And the
Great Spirit, with
His wanton lust
For despair, did not manifest that night.

The child fell silent, then still.
The tears came now.
Blurred vision and
Angry sobs.
Darkness consumed entire.

The river flowed by her electric as if
Its lights descended from a place far
Beyond the black taciturn veil of
Night to reflect the merciless
Tragedies among the wretched souls of
The Maine Woods.
I walked among the garden, passing by where long ago you once planted daisies—how those buds once bloomed. I walked a-ways farther until I came to a hearth, torn asunder. Its warmth gone cold and gray. The air about the garden is murky and slick, and I can feel it hang low in the snood of the evening mist. Up ahead I see where the path narrows, and like a siren it lasciviously calls out to me. It lies barren beneath the wet winter wind that blows restive. I know that it knows the way not. The wind sets the tawny leaves to caper and dance this way and that. And laconically they cross atop the worn-out grass. The sun now set save for the trailing penumbras, that set ominous among the darkening clouds like floating tundras. I catch a chill and realize for the first that I am out here alone; among the ancient pillars in the shadowy garden that I have for so long known. Why is it that year after year I must return here, is it to visit you, set things straight, or is it to recover a thing I might have lost to the atavistic gait of chaos and time? I know not—it is not for me to know. But, out here among the spectral shadows I am returned to the primordial. The nonpareil decay of clay and dust.
We sojourn
in a dying world
as the antecedent glow
of Virtue and Destiny
We scatter
and within and around and among
the sepulchral
Wind and Fire
of progress and evolution
a promise
breathes resolute
that nothing here may abide eternal
and in the imperious pursuit
of meaning and purpose
We sojourners
inexorably consume ourselves
Infinite and Whole
against the rucked pall
of history
like entwined marionettes
set upon a boundless stage
Into Oblivion
We dance

— The End —