Out of the Woods
On the way to water, I think, low moan, heat too deep for me to reach. A new noise from a vent in the paper palace. Before, I bounce off brick wall, begging for a change; the door swings open and unhinges me to the nail. I heard ssssSMH behind me; you not ready. As it turns out, ticks, like cops, have a taste for black blood. The mosquitos made a meal of me for weeks—their walking Slurpee. One stuck his straw in my third eye. I spell him struck blind. My friends compile lists of things they never knew, read me for filth. I say in every language, I don’t have the answers. They don’t believe me. I stop buying tickets to the shit show, but no matter the distance, the smell is pervasive. In the woods, I learned baby wolves get high from the scent of hearts bursting on their Instagram feeds. Serotonin is a helluva drug. In the clearing, I strain to hear the echoes of men whose bodies drag the forest floor. Unfortunately, all the witnesses withered seventy winters ago. Blood is a potent fertilizer.
Copyright © 2018 by Krista Franklin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 2, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.