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On the Tundra
(for M.B. and H.K.)
written by: ilex fenusova
I awoke from my bed in a gown of ash.
Slipped under the fox-lit moon like a small, hidden thing.
Plunged my hands, my arms, deep into the dark black soil,
pulling out wraith-like tendrils of sodden moss, sharp rocks.
I was hoping to find you there, hidden in the loam,
under shelter of bark and peat. The dirt took all of me.
Used me up. But deeper
I clawed, I dug, halfway to shoulder then,
wrapping gleaming earthworms with memories.
Moist carapace looms of solace and surety
on which they could feed.
I counted thunderclaps expecting, hoping to find you there.
And when the wind came, I counted the soft rushes
of grasses bending under the breeze. Still I could not find you.
I willingly lost myself in these searchings.
I was as naked and empty as a doll on another briny shore.
Like Lot's wife I turned around to see what I had lost
and was reduced to a pillar of salty tears.
I look for you, search for you in organs
belonging to you as much as me:
this painful skin twitches like tiny birds being held too tightly.
this lung of lost purpose- knowing only how to dig,
knowing not to breathe deeply, but to provide
only to dig deeper, deeper, until the thick clay covers me to ankles
and I am bound.
What if the heart is an endless library- will you be there if I look?
Or will I wander endless corridors and stacks eternally,
not realizing your name has long been scrubbed from a spine
I need desperately to live-
A smooth, shiny parchment awaiting new script
disintegrates to wisps the moment the page catches my pulse.
There was no fox-lit moon.
There was no rush of breeze in tall rippling grass.
Everything here is a lie of convenience.
I don't know how to speak of myself in my gown of ash,
half-buried in wet moss and lichen with the loss of you.
Should have kept a Rolodex of publications but hindsight is 20/20. Items seen here have not been published before.