Maybe the poet killed someone and buried them on a night so dark she can’t find the spot, just

memories of stone on stone. Even the spade disappears in her driftwood hands, in the broken

laths, in the crumbling foundation cramped with rampant daffodils.

Maybe she killed the poet and swallowed shreds of yeast and tears. Maybe she was a whale of

oil-lit caverns, a palace for suffering biblical satisfaction. Maybe she birthed an orchard of

discarded cores.

The poet wrote letters on a scrap of paper, made a note with her phone, took a pen to her arm,

bought a shirt for a reading, then didn’t wear it.

The poet owns her well. She never tests for pH or E. coli. She drinks the water anyway. The

bucket is wood, the rope hemp, the handle, hand-hewn cuneiform.

Moss grows along the sides of the well. The water carries that smell of forest skin: soft,

discarded, green.

The poet is a broken nose in a fight that has never begun. The poet is a bloody nose. The poet is

no nose. The poet is running.

Running in jeans with artful slashes at the thigh, with knees torn out, and unmatched socks.

She swallows a fraternity of rain, bone drops in the ribs of dream.

She swallows a cat, the night, a nightingale, a thrush, a hummingbird.

The poet swallows them whole.

Ellen White Rook

Ellen White Rook is a poet, writer, and teacher of contemplative arts residing in upstate New York and southern Maine. She offers workshops on ikebana, Japanese flower arranging, and leads Sit, Walk, Write retreats that merge meditation, movement, and writing. Ellen is a recent graduate from the Master of Fine Arts program at Lindenwood University. Her work has been published in Montana Mouthful, New Verse News, Red Rock Review, and Trolley Literary Journal. In 2021, two of her poems were nominated for Pushcart Prize.

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