I fear I’ve been alive too long,
too good at survival,
a one-tree forest too balanced to fall,
only bluffing fragility.
I think I feel the fungus growing in the valleys,
in between the ridges of my gray matter. Yet
even then I fear the sting of my memory, the ashen bark of me, the locust tree
on the destitute hillside. I live cringing at the rock-hard pulp where I store the past,
vice griped by the brackish bark that surrounds it.
How can I humble myself on the judgement day,
when I cannot be convinced to release a drop of water in a thunderstorm?
when I bloom
in the drought?
when the burn of the Sun only makes my sheath tighter,
ridged, with fungi that grow in the red-orange watercourses of my scraping skin? After years of roots entrapped in eroding yellow clay, there is a parabolic curve to my spine
and yet at the end I reached back towards the self-same Sun, plumes of fingerprint leaves
hiding pitchfork thorns among white flowers
all shaking defiance at the light they reach for.
that someone could break me down to size
or help me straighten my form
to make a fool out of the iron in me
but I am singular in survival
landed as a hermit of the hillside,
withstanding the lightning strike with silence.
What is it that decided my terrible form?
I fear I’ve been alive too long
when I was supposed to stay the same—
in a world where I was told to stay small
Lord, I’m afraid I have become.
Born and raised in Appalachia. Temperamental. Can occasionally be found @SouthpawDinkous on Twitter.