Photo credit: Canyon Bowden



In this memory, you see a red fox run across a field in a rainstorm. All of this takes place on the side of a mountain. In your mind, you are always far from home. You pull water in through the window: what to do with the two girls you have made. There is movement on the periphery. You want to make them torch. You want to make them ax. They are: two trees, waterfall trunks and arms made of leaves. You sew spikes to their feet, sharpen their fingernails while they sleep. They grow soft padded hands, luminous teeth. They are ready to glacier, to sheer this topsoil off and leave a valley of frost flowers.


It is never safe, even alone in your cave. There is someone on the bridge looking for you; he wants to bury your body in the woods. In the parking lot. In the park next to the river. The fear is interior, but he won’t know that. Your face will be pixelated, shadowed, plaster and lathe. He will think you’re laughing. He will make a play to burn down the forest. To take the glass out of your windowpane, out of your wind chime. To paint a field on fire with your blood; he will fail only so many times. These knots of thread will become haystacks, past evidence of evidence that no one saw in the glare.


Even the forest floor of newspapers is muck. You remember that castle of paper tubes, the staircase of pallets: if we burn everything, can we start over? Stick trees prick the sky and pricks strip the trees for life. A murder sings a broken piano chorus: you, you, you, are all going to die. Crows split apart in black puzzle pieces to peck the headlines floating, bloated in the puddles of ripped out roots. 36 people died last week in a ghost ship. Your heartbreak feels like you’re molting, but there’s nothing underneath this beat.

Amelia Martens is the author of The Spoons in the Grass are There To Dig a Moat, a book of prose poems selected by Sarabande Books for the 2014 Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature. Her chapbooks include: Purgatory (Black Lawrence Press, 2012), Clatter (Floating Wolf Quarterly, 2013), and A Series of Faults (Finishing Line Press, 2014). She's an adjunct instructor at WKCTC, where she helps to edit Exit 7: A Journal of Literature and Art.