we rise from the bog, skin wet and squelching.
glistening in the thick, damp sunlight. the word
around town is that we were lucky to escape.
our hands have dried to crisps, brown
and curling like dead ferns, and we smell like rotting
things. our bodies soft stacks of gassed rabbits, eyes
brown apples. when a rescue party is sent out across
the marsh for those who didn’t escape, we join it.
perhaps because we are kind, but almost certainly
because we are sick in a way no one else understands.
THERE ARE NO SURVIVORS. words of bone,
spat out of a bitter, gummy dark. grass yields
beneath our bruised knees. it is all too easy to stay
here. our skin turns to mould.
One fat bog.
19 dead. / 19 nights of survivor’s guilt.
we pull the bodies from the bog. some are leather. boneless.
liquid men and women. pickled, preserved— drowned
in a womb of vinegar, birthed in a clamour of screaming
and tight-knit prayers. God’s name spooling from pink
lips; eyes worn red. the worst are those who were drowned
when the weather was warm, when the air clung and the
wasps hovered before the apples of our eyes:
skin falls tender from the bone.
even the insects don’t want them.