Monday, January 26, 2009

The Walk

Oni Buchanon (2004)

The woman came toward me through the woods with a hatchet.
She was coming through the woods with a shotgun.
The trees bent and swayed around the path,

a delicate canopy, the lake a dropped quarter behind
the brink. And the near-mute lap, tendril lick,

was it the lake—or lacy winds of butterflies leaping
from leaves? Oh, the least of these. She, brisk
with bullet holes, carrying a butcher knife.

"From those who have nothing, even what they have
will be taken away," I thought, as she walked tugging her examination gloves,

stainless steel stethoscope around her shot-through throat.
"For all those who have, more will be given,"
I said aloud as she strode toward me in her leotard

and rapped thrice on my head with a cloth-covered brick.
I heard her count through the hole in her throat,

raspy as the crow-cackle grating from their roost
in the tall dead tree which moaned and creaked as it bent side-stitched,
its shriveled roots spread miles under the earth, miles to the water table

where the red and eyeless millipedes prune their poison sacs,
and outward wide as the woods where the mushroom hunters

hunt in the most dew dawns. (she had me by a cord around my throat.
She had me in the net-and-pulley treetrap.) "Oh, to the least, to me,"
I wheezed, and pointed out the sun, still high in the sky, still spotted

with sun spots. I took her spotted hand in mine as we both looked up into the blue,
and the long honey locust pods rattled high in the honey locust tree.

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