Issue 4 Cover_final_web Poecology

Issue 4

 

 
 

Annie Pentilla

 

Anaconda, MT – Love, Loss and Memories from out West

 
 

Salt that lies on the basin. Precambrian sea. Face of shale. Face of no intent. Graveyard for prehistoric ferns. Even the foliage has the zero hour, a rudimentary fragment sharp as stone. A beginning that’s almost comical in its origin.
 
 
Some said the formation was a memory of skin, a trapper’s pelt forming on the old frontier; for others, it was a film of lead-based paint: a set of cracks growing along the wall.
 
 
Call it what you will. Call it by any name. Call it damage. Call it depreciation. Called it a line of fault. For even the furniture began to hold our duration, the oil-stained driveway a kind of presence beyond words. So that when you dropped a pencil, for instance, off it went rolling across the oak floor.
 
 
To this day I still feel you’re about to pass through the threshold of the door. In this house that my grandmother built. Matchbox full of words. Wardrobe full of scraps, narrow as the bodice of a woman. Shallow corridor through which ghosts move in and out.
 
 
Walk through these coniferous trees. Walk through these ash-stained ribs. Walk as one standing in a dream of a pit mine. Blue like copper. Blue like a table of elements.
 
 
If only the melody could be written in a string of carbon. If only hydrogen could make a sound beyond words. Listen: the screen door swings shut. Someone passes through the threshold. The shape of a woman is closing her eyes. Her dark silhouette against the dew-drawn air.
 
 
Give me a fairytale ending to a comic-book beginning. Tell me a story of their making. Tell me ancestors had homesteaded the land. They called it Opportunity. Said “go west young man!” Said, “let’s lick the salt.” Let’s never look back on the ancient flood. Let’s build a house only where the leaves are falling, on the soft, fermented autumnal ground. Let’s sleep in a bed whose concavity bears some quality of our inhabitation.
 
 
She was born in the shadow of the smelter stack. She was born among the hills of black slag. And all of the men were writing their lovers’ names in poison. Proposals on the tar-colored hills, written with the dry, thin branches of trees.
 
 
Conductivity. This conductivity. One’s relative resistance or capacity toward being loved. Lover of mine tell me how to complete this circuit. Give me the moon. Give me your salt and your bread, every last drop of your soldering shards. Wrap my solenoidal heart a thousand times in copper wire. Electrify me. Say my name in a calligraphy of ash. The sound of a lover’s voice is only as sharp as an icicle falling from the thinnest branch of a tree. And if you say “I love you,” then say it in the color of slag. Because love, like every other religion, is just another distraction from death.