Hide and Seek

When I sleep I slip into a hollow oak to hide
from a child who counts against an ash.
Outside my new door the world moves:
stones snail over dirt, roots step out
of the earth, branches gather fallen leaves.
The child breezes past calling deep
into the woods. I lean back and wait,
the cool pulp of rot kissing my neck.

The longer I stay, the tighter the tree
holds me. Slowly my skin turns
dry and hard and woodpeckers jitter
up my spine. My hair grows into
every branch. My arms break through
deadwood, pink leaves blossoming
from my fingernails. A starling builds
a nest in my mouth. The woods call my name.

Kip Knott | Mudlark No. 26
Contents | Confidence Game