Bars Between the Trees

Through the wind-wrought forest,
Between slouched birches, peeling,
I found you
With the sun in your teeth,
Eyes cloudless
And silver from the circling
Gates in your gaze.

“Why the bars?” I called,
Still from afar,
Where the dying moss shriveled
Into brown bricks
Mortared to the face
Of the mountainside.

“Not a prison,” I knew,
For her eyes glittered
And laughed with need
Of nothing more.
“A home.”

Home. Mine was in the dirt,
In the mud with the grubs
Nestled against my knees.
Mine was in the velvet dark
In the hollow of a leaf-stripped oak.

Home. “For me?”

A door against the gates,
Locked twice, tight,
And I with no key.
Yet, for me, your dimpled cheeks
Sang more of home
Than all of mother’s
Soft, moonlit songs.

I wrenched oaken limb
From body and oaken body
From root, shaving skin down
To bone while snapping
Piece into piece for a ladder’s wooden form.

And as I laid
My ladder against
The line of silver bars,
It shocked me to see
You on your own above
The gates with a starry glint
In your eye.

I climbed to the top,
Fingers shaking,
Chest throbbing.
You greeted me,
Not with a smile
Or a whispered hello,
But with a kiss.
And another,
Your lips like silk
Sewn into my own

Then ripped into
Tatters. Your dainty, doughy hands lingered
In the air
Like an echoed image
Of your push against
My ladder. So, broken,

I lay down
In the rocky earth.
My cold, lonely home
Welcomed me once again.

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