The Switch

I sting and swell
It grasps a switch
A week's time it took to bend
back, and here again, the arm
Pointed at, commanding no army
Sweat in its elbow crease
My foot locked
Under tangled root
"Get up" says the stick
With a stomp to the spine

I wear the welts
Cuts stitched by needle in mouth
Bleeding stopped
"Look, look," it says,
"You're learning!"
Pick another and another
Thick branches
Tiniest twigs
A whole forest,
Trunks, naked
From the ground to the stars
Giant sundials marking its return

When the storm comes
Their arms will not catch the wind
Without greens, the trunk will die
I do not brush off the termites
or the carpenter ants that follow
the weathered hem of my jeans
Leaves and discarded switches crunch
Under feet approaching
It has to travel far, now, for whipping tools

"Which do you like?" it asks.
I tell it to go to hell.
"Knotted and dense,
Sticky with sap,
Straight as sin,
Or chewed by ants?"
I am learning. I am learning.
I tell it to give me the ants.
The air breaks and I cry out.
But I know something now:
The nest is built in hollow wood.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Constructive criticism welcome.