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Like dirt

Like dirt

Like dirt

by Kate Shannon

fade in
ext. forest – uncertain time, for lack of
                            everything else and the sun
nowhere. present.
                       but not there, okay?
a thicket of tall trees is not seen but perhaps was, once. green grass, tall, too,
                                       if I remember it right. describe it for me,
                                       and the sun.

this is what I want you to see:
leaves falling because it is too late for them not to
leaves which catch fire and make shapes of the wind
shapes: the face the mountain the moon the distance of voices through tree a loose marrow bubbling on the water’s bloated surface.

now you see:
a woman, an all-purpose grave because that is what women so languishing become
a woman who loved you, the sun, and the apple-sweet valley so hard she became bones, here bones: the shape in your shaking hand the grass that grows through the hysterical lament
a loose tooth pried from the mouth too early, the hole its root leaves.

now this happens:
a woman, so sweet she might be mistaken for pure honey because that’s all sweet ought be a woman who loved back until woman became grave and still loved, just harder,
harder: the face the voice the hand bones between that I swear fit so good
a pond that is emptying too fast leaving boats on parched water.

fade out
int. a home that, despite everything, is still standing – morning
                                     the sun pours itself over the
                                     peeling wallpaper.
an apple-sweet valley. present.
                            but not in any meaningful way, woman-shaped honey crystallized
                            and never set out for warming.
a living room that smells sickly of peonies is seen, the rug a floral-stomped invocation
                                of feet that danced so close it still stinks of
                                yearning. describe it for me, and the sun.

Kate Shannon (she/her) is an editor and human services student from the mountains of Upstate NY, where she lives with her partner, her cats, and too many dark secrets. Her publication history includes The Metaworker, The Mithila Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, and most recently in Rhonda Parrish’s Water: Selkies, Sirens, & Sea Monsters anthology.