On Reading Thoreau

CW: Violence

 

Midtrail the carcass of a rabbit

half-hidden on the side. Death is

disconcerting in natural camouflage—

all the blood’s seeped into the moss

and the needles stir with the light

stench of rot. There’s an invisible

bird and it won’t stop singing.

Upward - the pull of blue sky      the top

of the hill framed in yellow leaves.

I walk on, trailing the bell-like tune.

In the shooting yesterday the police walked

away leaving the dead and the wounded

glinting in the thick silence of the sun. O,

heady burning mirages. How warm can September get

in these parts of the land? Hours

passed and then the street was

bustling with people who watched

where they stepped.

I get out of the forest before it closes on me.

The afternoon sprawls on the fields, reddening

at the fringes. I look back to see the bird

appear out of the bushes. It’s quiet  

here on the hill, a chill running through the bone,

the dull pain of a dilating soul. White bird

on singed foliage. And I wonder how much it takes

to aim and      flick the switch or pull the trigger,

face untwitching. How sweet the blade. Is that inside

all of us? The urge to rip apart      the bird

flew up to a higher branch and left

me with my own madness

of invulnerability.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Close-up of AK's face in front of flowers and a building. They're white, femme-ish-presenting, with dark brown hair. They're looking to their left and slightly smiling.

Close-up of AK's face in front of flowers and a building. They're white, femme-ish-presenting, with dark brown hair. They're looking to their left and slightly smiling.

AK Afferez is a queer writer currently living in France. They’d like to have you think they spend their days sipping wine and scribbling in notebooks at a fashionable café, but they are most likely trying to either survive grad school, write a book, or parent a cat with a God complex. They work for Winter Tangerine & Vagabond City, and they blog for Ploughshares. Favorite small talk topics include the apocalypse, tarot, and lesbian history. They tweet @akafferez.