DEARLY BELOVED 

we built our home on a lone dirt track that the map said not to follow
and when you went hunting rabbits I was huddled in the dawn
a darkened mass of wool and bone and bowls all lying empty
squatting like a child in the dirt to search for stones
answers hidden in the hardened prints of hooves and clawmarks
left by better beings as they watched us keeping warm

but the frosted earth tore back my nails and pulled my lungs to pieces
and I couldn’t find you anything of worth
so I trapped a little bird and watched her struggle with her noose
and pretending I was elsewhere broke her neck
for freedom loses meaning when the blood is running cold,
the only thing important is the silence

I’ll light a fire with what I’ve got and pray that you will find me
one clawed foot, one iron needle, the burning pitch of an evergreen
my shaking fingers stretch her wings and
nail her above our door with little hope you’ll find her
she’ll call to you,
I can no longer scream

march 7, 2017. jrw

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