A Forest

Vines grow fierce along the edge of every whim

Each notion pulls with it twelve other seedlings

That ripen and bulge and invite

The neighbors into your kitchen

You may believe that islands stand individual

Warriors of solitary purpose projected toward the sun

But each base gloms onto the earth

Thirsty, without the benefit

Of advocacy

We live in sagging huts

Blankets between you and us and

Songs that slip across the great expanse

Harsh whispers to the untrained ear

Myths stand under the stars, not thee

Lips pursed in quiet judgment as gods titter

Come home to roost among queer birds

On branches beaten from the finest


Maps will not illuminate you

As unfathomable as the ebb of the cosmos

Ever collapsing onto one point of light, screaming

The bleat of midnight, the call of darkness unbidden

Saturday 330 AM

Down in the graveyard,

Behind my grandpa’s stone,

I saw a glint in the eye of a demon.

His teeth white under the moon,

He tuned a fiddle of bleached bone

Strung with fresh sinew

And I asked the demon

“Did you know my grandpa?

When you think of him, does your fiddle whine?”

And he said, “No, I didn’t know the man.

I didn’t know his smile,

Or the sour notes that rode his breath as he praised you.

I know only that this headstone

—reaching as it does for falling stars—

Casts the deepest shadows over the rest.”

With a sigh, the demon ran his bow across taut flesh

And it hissed,

And sent ravens into the sky.

Manuel Chavarria is a writer living in Los Angeles.

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