At dawn the birch trees are ice-smacked:
shocked and glassy.
The man limps across the snow, like a toad,
his only illness memory.
Light presses against his eyes,
like a shard of the bottle
he broke over the night
— though it was the evening,
softer than skin, that had tempted him
He recalls the suckling: iron-bitter
as the earth, yet river-silken.
Then the black sky: pricked with stars
like a medieval device and cold as iron.
How the birch trees, pale as naked men,
were flayed against them.
Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.
If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.