Kathy Boles-Turner, Look Backwards Through the Fir Tree, 2015
For more of Kathy’s awesome work check out her blog HERE.
I visited Dover castle and the Roman lighthouse over 10 years ago.
stone upon stone upon stone and ancient mortar. a net stretched across the open space where the floor woodenly stood sentinel against the rain’s rotting lash. a dead seagull was caught in the net. its feathers drift down like snow from its bones when the wind dances through. its feathers drift down like ash from its bones when fleet fled the burning harbor.
To build an altar you need the familiar territory of a dry riverbed and the shadow of a nuclear power plant. You need the roar of a siren on the air, the highway in the distance, the skull of a kingfisher and the footprints of someone you don’t love anymore. You need a stone from a hand that killed in a war far from home, knucklebones that know the fractals of a willow branch and all the sounds of breaking. You need the smells of honeysuckle, salt, and gunpowder, a piece of iron if you’re superstitious. You need the oil slick iridescence of a cockroach wing and a lock of your mother’s hair. You need the cornerstone of a place that makes you feel safe, even if that place isn’t really a place but a scrap of paper or the empty air. You need a poem written by someone you haven’t met yet.
The strawberry is poison and it pops into your mouth as if by magic.
It is cold and sour. It pricks your tongue like a bee sting. You
chew as if a spider clawed its way across your jaw before stopping to
rest above your lower lip, you chew delicately.
We stepped outside the greenhouse and the lights went cold. He reached out; his palm froze against Saturn’s gelatinous ring and pulled away from his wrist like wet paper. I felt the romance leak out of our suicide as I saw the black hole. I punched him in the face.