these days, i feel haunted by stories i'll never fully extract from the earth. each tree that grows casts off leaves into the wind, bits of fiber and carbon that settle into the mud some distance away. i feel hardening bark, gnarling roots, a surface crawling with ants, fresh buds chewed off by hungry squirrels. i'm hungry, too, but i cannot share their food.

i come home sometimes to hemlock boughs littering the yard, yellowed needles sucked dry by clusters of adelgids. these hemlocks were planted here by humans, anyway; a ruled straight line between two properties, as if the trees would obey those boundaries and never grow large enough to pry up concrete. they never knew that a disease would wipe them all out at once. in the summers, when i park in the driveway, i look up at the sparsely branched trees and wonder if there is a safe place beneath them. i walk off the distance from the tree line to the house and try not to think about how it's shorter than the height of the trees.

i shed skin cells and hair into the world the way the trees flake off weak branches. each item dropped is a thing that my body has put energy into forming; i breathe air and drink water and eat food, only to shed it minutes, hours, days, years later, once my body decides it's no longer a part of me. but those not-parts-of-me cram into the nooks under my laptop keys, the cracks in my floorboards, blowing into the cobwebs in the corner. some of it escapes further, an eyelash ripped from my face by the wind, drops of blood from my palms when i stumble and grab a sharp rock, left under a bush in the forest when i'm miles and miles away from domestic plumbing.

these are all, perhaps, stories that haven't been told.

14 April 2018 22:50

  Commons License this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. for more details, please see my license information.