I am putting these words together, I am sending them to you, dear someone, in the curve of the oak leaves, where the light dapples into pictograph and memory. What I know of the world comes in at the eyes. Beech trees, a patch of deer-sucked grass. I am trying to lose my body again, training my tongue to the filaments of light and root structure.
I am not sure of you. You may/may not ‘get it’. Thin vein of spider thread sinking from the branches.
New moss on the slate rock I drug down that hill.
The shade stalks the sun along the arc of the yard.
Because of the attic stairs. Because of the flour-dusted past, the futility of it all. Because of the yeast in the air and the tenacity of ghosts.
And how, though I try, I cannot describe a single thing the way it is. Cut an improbable channel through the land and reach me here, amid the chaos and bramble, work piled like wood to last three winters, children a-yawl and a muddle.
It’s just like farming, you’ll say, and someone’s got to eat.
Whereas the history of language is sustenance, you have sustained. Openly, mustn’t admit to the hope in a wing or the manyness of blackbirds, your body breaking into blossom, the plink plink of spring across its foolish meadows, but when we find ourselves beyond the ears of commerce, we confess like new-found catholics.
I admit, it’s crazy. I admit, not a single tax break attends this labor.
Yet the thin mewl of a just-made thing.
Must be some reason in it after all.
Marci Nelligan is the author of The Ghost Manada (Black Radish, 2016), Infinite Variations (Black Radish, 2011) and numerous chapbooks, and the co-editor of Intersections, an interdisciplinary book on Jane Jacobs. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boog City, Jacket, the Denver Quarterly, The New Orleans Review, How2, Fledgling Rag, and other journals. She lives in Lancaster, PA with her husband and two daughters, and runs an arts-in-education partnership between Millersville University and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.