Back and On Down

Okay so I’d buried her body in a shallow grave
and told mom we couldn’t go back to the cabin
because I’d never fed the dog & let it die but it was
the woman. And had struck her. With shovel maybe.
A tussle. Thinking you know when you molest
a child you really molest a whole damn lineage.
My mother says malaise. Says dredging. No,
I do. Go burying bodies. Run the risk of defining
our dead by their shoveling. Moment of impact.
My brother flies over what he saw, swoop, dip,
takes off into the sun. A backyard that sprawls
out behind us. On the couch, it’s skeletal trees.
I see her uprooted rest in aerial. High perch
of the mind’s eye. My father is naming names.
Takes the shovel and swings at the earth.
In my grandfather’s memoir there aren’t many
clues as to why it’d be a document written
from backyard. A freshly tilled pit of peat moss
and rehab. One has to wonder— Catholics, you know,
but then I become my father. Projecting shovels
into trees, as if a knot were a hand. Could hold, lift.
Could’ve killed her. Naw, was me. For certain.
Without provocation. Homo great-uncle who drowned
in a puddle is barely a trace in the text. Pools
at the foot of her post-shovel hillage. Or was it pre.
Always the question, always the movement, cutting
both ways as it wicks away phloem from the base
of the tree.

One Way to Do It

She tells me that one way to do it is to get a long rope,
from home depot presumably, ‘cause it’s nice
to be gay there, and every time you knot it you say
the intention you’ve so intended to set and by the end
of your rope, you’re there, committed to the landscape
of which loss made a lightning field, now in your tether.

I toss him a line—I say, I like to party, too,
and K says he’s always been envious of people
who can party without it ruining their life
or maybe an operative word is restructuring. Can’t
disentangle the women from the drugs, and I say,
same, even though, not same. We both well know not same.

It’s just the drugs reap an openness, like lassoed
straight to the heart of the matter, he says. Why
do we want to go straight to the heart, K? What
good has it really done us, anyway. Spend
however many months trying to dislodge knot
from throat ‘cause we thought we could get there quicker.

If a spell is intention cast into the coarse horse
hair-like common pulled taut, where does that
leave patience, and our wills that four out of
five psychs would likely agree are unfreed
by compulsion? My father once rope-bridged
an active volcano in ashen attempt to salvage dead love.

Lost his mind for a while. Which he’d carried
in pounds, it’d seem. Our bodies snitching on us
only half the time. I want to give it all away
and be one split-end in a knot of intention. Eat
fresh fruit like its a cure for loving being thumbed
open. Run out of answers and keep climbing ‘til I ring the bell.

Tyler Morse lives in Brooklyn. Her writing can be found in Blunderbuss, The Hunger Journal, Swaddled with Ease (Bermuda Triangle Press) & zines (& forthcoming in the Sinister Wisdom Lesbian Herstory Archives special issue).