The Lonely

I am sparrow-filled tree waiting to be cut down. Air is packed with new horror. These birds leave, streaking from my arms in long brown ribbons, cutting the sky with their work.
The sun burns cold and the grass refuses to grow. Children stand under my bareness holding hands in nothing but dirt. I will be chopped–
used for the fire my friend gives birth next to. Legs will splay and splash their guts while I sizzle. Her scream will escape through the window, while the dark chicken hides under the bed.
I want to hold her writhing pig-head, teeth slipping into my arm like a needle, and a man will come to place his lips on the tiny flower of my blood.
This is getting to me. Lifted into an ascent so brutal, I can no longer recognize the little boy in my eye-line, Davy, our moving sea, our small body of water to cancel this thirst.
Marilla, place your hands on me, cover my dangerous body with seeds. I want to grow. I want to drink. How terrible, this morning. How endless and afraid.

April Michelle Bratten has had work appear in THRUSH Poetry Journal, Southeast Review, and is forthcoming in Gargoyle, among others. Her Anne of Green Gables inspired chapbook, Anne with an E, is due out from dancing girl press in late summer 2015. She is the editor of Up the Staircase Quarterly. More can be found at her website: