Amber L. Cook
Underneath the water’s face, the body sulks in silence: it waits. It picks apart the claws
that scratch scratch the ice-sheet overhead, asks: how many winters?
How many frost-covered bones have collected? The fir tree counts-out on its wisps
and whispers: far too many. So the body thinks to the thaw and un-thaw:
remnants of winter that are torn/tattered. The body starts to forgive what was taken
and what it took: mud and mineral: collection of oxygen or lack-there-of. By the body,
I mean to say a man cut at the throat: thin line leaving one ear with a sickle-slice through
the windpipe and to the other ear: a face changed. I mean to say a body thrown
in the bog, the sphagnum moss grows thick. The body takes a catalogue of what hasn’t
crystalized and caked: sumac to salamander: black slug sliding to see the stare back.
The moon watches too, making a milky thumbprint stamped into patched-grass. I mean
to say the moon is watching the body and waiting to see what shape the moss makes
over millennia: over years that are pressed and passed. I mean to mention the spine by
way of making bony bridges from vertebrae to vertebrae: by way of making reason for
the body as left there, great divining beetle skittering atop, and what this looks like from
far off: the not-so-bad, the at-peace. Goldthread gilds this sight with its blooms
and the after-bloom of lady’s slippers let the feet dip down, let the shovel dig until the not-
peat is hit: until the body is cut around carefully and can again taste the wind, touch
the crisp that comes to bite and nip the skin. We are reminded of what came from the coin
purse that opened at the neck: how the voice went silent and still.
So we wonder: how long the body was blotted out? What went into the watching or
the not-watching. How did flora and fauna miss the fissures in the skin, in
the bog that leads to the frost and its freezing over, crimson cast of fall turned white. The body
thinks on where and why: what direction it can go to make its way back west.