Up the Mountain All Was Holy

for Carlotta

Because the parents lost their patience
they decided to lose their child
to the woods near the mountains.
Between the trees
bones like chapels
sanctify the earth
where the heretic animals gnash.
The bugs bless a log
with their gospel of hectic movement,
and here where hunger
worships the fang
the child is flesh everlasting.
What I know of children
I learn from fairytales;
they are bartered
then slaughtered for health or gold.
The child, barefoot & bewildered,
wanders. So the wolf & blackberry,
both wild & wherever
they please, appear like signs.
A boy is left in the forest.
He leaves the forest
unscathed. The Great Nothing
Isn’t that
the miracle we pray for?

Michael Schmeltzer was born in Japan and eventually moved to the US. He is the co-author of "A Single Throat Opens," a lyric exploration of addiction, and "Blood Song," a WA State Book Award finalist in poetry. His work can be found in Black Warrior Review, Mid-American Review, PANK, Split Lip Magazine, and Water~Stone Review, among others. He can be found procrastinating on Twitter at @mschmeltzer01