& (fourteen)

By JA Tyler

going back. He tramps through the underbrush, the ferns and the wet ground, searching out wood fallen and vulnerable. He doesn’t like to fell them, he doesn’t like to saw or cut or chop them. He is afraid for his own trunk, his own waist, doesn’t want to be chopped or sawed or cut. Afraid for the rings of his bones, not wanting to see them laid out and open on a floor of dew soaked green.

His arms, limbs. His fingers twigs. His ribs the scales on branches, the bark, his legs the root system stretching and expansive. His head the foliage of an elm, an oak, a cedar. His skin scented like forest, like groups of trees lined and perched with birds, the whispered twitches of whistles and prayers.

This man, dying, he is a prayer.

In death it is crows, large and looming, blending with the night, staying late enough to see him gone, to see the sun fail, the clouds changed to shadows. But here, his steps on a wet ground, here the birds are small, lively, jumping and pecking, lifting among branches and limbs. Here they warm on his shoulders and head, cradle in his eyes, rest in his lungs, turn his exhales musical. Here they are a part of him, an imitation of him.

And this girl, the one flying, the one pointed towards the sun, she was a bird. She was lilting in branches and his arms, a mimicry of his voice, the punch of his words. She was a sound of music and a breath, the one he no longer has, the breath or the girl, both punctured and out. Her, this girl, flying towards or away, a crossing of blue sky, a bird.

The man, a tree.

This girl as a bird.

Nesting together.


J. A. Tyler is founding editor of mud luscious and the author of SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE (ghost road press, 2009), IN LOVE WITH A GHOST (willows wept press, 2010), and INCONCEIVABLE WILSON (vox press, 2010) as well as the chapbooks OUR US & WE (greying ghost), ZOO: THE TROPIC HOUSE (sunnyoutside), EVERYONE IN THIS IS EITHER DYING OR WILL DIE OR IS THINKING OF DEATH (achilles), and THE GIRL IN THE BLACK SWEATER (trainwreck press). Visit: www.aboutjatyler.com.

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