Words for Wednesday


Where it Led You

(for John Maggio)

~ Cherry Smyth

You say the wind in the trees brought it.
Your grandmother’s house nested by woods,
a cabin more like, with an outside toilet
and the smell of fallen apples masking it.
It isn’t the rotting, sweet thickness but where
it leads you: into the woods, where small
creeping shadows called to city boys who
could play lost, jungle commandoes.

You followed your brother into a clearing.
There lay something you knew but didn’t,
something that should move but couldn’t
– a heap of smattered fur, even before the flies
knew, a litter of puppies, the texture tangy
in your mouth, a fruit bruise, the pelts asking
to be petted, the bloodholes where the pellets
entered. Around you circled the knowledge of BB
guns, the deadly capable forest boys and the rustling
that shocked a new silence into you both.

When you say you want more space in the
maze of your paintings, I hear whimpering
in the trees, the pop-pop-pop of boyhood, see
a mound of warm heads. You will paint a path
out of the woods, making room for each and
every one, in fathering light. Your world is
kinder, figuring the dense, bewildering mass,
the face-down side of the bright apple.


Picture found here.


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