Clawing your way through a wooded town
on a rare day of autumn heat won’t get you anywhere,
I think you’ve forgotten.
You’ve been drug away from the forest floor,
eyes a knotted, snotty mess and hair in your teeth before;
why can’t you give it a rest with your wild-girl heart?
Dried leaves crumple in your clammy fists,
a flurry of red-orange flakes with edges like broken glass
unstick themselves from your palms and float down,
never to be reassembled
crushed in vain by a girl with a wild heart and hands of a man:
even holy water could not cleanse the things you touched back then.
You bring rock to trunk to scratch the features of your face
into the soft clay bark of the old oak tree.
Naturally, the disfigured tree disfigured you;
and for the rest of the days that its roots burrow down into the forest floor,
your folded jowls and pinching eyes will grace the clearing’s door.
As such your face wanders into country lore
and you are remembered as a monster;
Old Hag of the Hill who ate wild-girls’ hearts.
Too late, the crack of guilt lashes down on your hunched back,
the rock slips from your grip and you follow it down;
finally collapsed in this lawless wooded town.
You know the hours will pass and the searchlights will find you.
Questions will be asked and avoided, repeated and half-completed;
half-sense words building sense and sentences in the moonlight.
You’ve all been through this before.
The forest knows how to wear its destruction well,
that is to say, it hides it all;
little do the occult ad-ults know what wreckage goes unmanned here;
the wrecked remnants of your wild heart.
Years pass in the forest, and your tantrums subside.
No-one asks why, but you remember,
wild-girl at heart,
that night you tore your wild heart into pieces
and planted its meaty pulp in the roughed-up forest floor.