In the Forest

Black-and-white young Matthew, his instinct
to take the high ground driving him halfway up
the spiral staircase to the loft. Cat ascending.
Sun blazing in the Palladian window like something
out of William Blake. This energy of Tiger, Tiger
a fierce impress upon Matthew’s pupils that are
contracting even as he crouches, ready to leap
onto the window cornice, that ledge his predator’s
heart lunges to achieve, with what dread feet,
to what aspire, amid the unwiped dust, attached
wooden blinds that come crashing to the carpeted floor
like a rotted limb falling in forest mulch. I wake
that night, my pulse palpable, beating at my ears.
Say, then, we never left that place. The names we
gave to fruit, bush, tree, flower, beast and fowl
fell away, each thing new to itself, shadows in
moonlight nothing but memory they cast away,
the wind scraping palmetto fronds, eager
lover, transparent fingers that let the body show
through, where caress and secret grasp will bleed,
thorns acquire, the soft movement all around us
triggering the sensor and outdoor lights, Matthew
rushing to his window to watch the parting of myrtle,
camellia, the forgetful emptiness that is brushing past.

John Allman | Mudlark No. 31
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