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She is the woodcutter

The branches white, bleached by sun and water.

Scattered by wind. Your hand, your hand.


Her knife grows between index and thumb. She has

six fingers and sharpens them in the stream. From

the blade drops a tree – still seed – will it live to see this

river go dry?


She hangs her head; and it sinks and rises like the moon.

A soft light. A moment missed. No one will see the world

go dark tonight.


Her feet are red flowers, grown while the world had

bled. Two crimson roses twine up her shins. All

petals are dancers, or killers, they wait their turn.

The red seeps from underneath her toenails and mingles

with the soft, warm earth.


She is the woodcutter. Her spine is bark you haven’t

touched; you would break it, as all things break. She cuts

the wood for no one then drowns it in the river.

It travels to sea. Her heart is the tide.


In the dim afternoon light, the twigs transfigure in her

hands. One a spear. One a mouth. One a rock. One

restless. No quiet hands can make a tune of it. She sings

the song then flings the wood away – you are, she says,

not mine nor meant for me.


It falls forever. She is the woodcutter. She is the body

that’s not the body. Her wrists are scythes and her womb

is filled with earth. All veins are hungry, as no stream

ever rests. Not one body finds its fruit in the ground,

but begins and begins.


Unhinging time, she carves the seed from the tree.

There is a portrait of roots in her hands, a memory

of its birth long after the wood has died. She knows

where to look. Age coils back in on itself as her heart

touches the bark, the knife, the one.


A conception is blossoming out of her hands, humid

and soft with tears. She does not cry even as the

splinters fall, stillborn, and make a deathbed of the ground.

She pulls them from her skin like projectiles. She tosses them into the stream.


At last, all wood washes down: the bank, the land, on to the great mouth. It has seen the world and forgotten it, too. It lives again. All twigs become rot, every nest, every thorn. The ocean creates them backwards.

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