lichen & trechorous september 

a headless man has been visiting our block.
he is carrying a sachel full of 
golden apples & looking for a lost horse.
i bought ear plugs for just this reason.
when the hauntings start this early in fall
you know it's best not to leave your own house.
of course, inside my door is no different.
the lichens grow across the walls.
they sing of becoming one big ruffled dress.
i tell them to hush as the moon arrives
& i close the blinds so it doesn't see me.
everyone is super romantic about the moon
but they are naive. the moon could eat anyone.
look, can you see the line of its jaw?
swooping down it will coax you 
from your guardedness with poetry
& then snap--swallow you whole. leave nothing
but your shoes. i need to survive this year
so that next year i can wear a dress.
the lichens ask if they can be my mother
& i tell them they can for now. 
i have no energy for blush or eyeshadow.
the horse comes in through my cracked window
& i shoo it out again. i point to 
the headless man but the horse shakes his head.
we never want who is looking for us. 
i am certain someone wants to find me.
i send letters to god. i send postcards
to ghosts from places i've lived. 
the dark figure of my parent's house
& the woman with only a face 
who just wanted to swallow a needle.
all the while the lichens get closer,
start climbing my legs. i tell them 
they should take their time. we have 
so many months to pass but they want
to climb right now. all over me.
a great rippling green. i laugh.
i am finally a tree. finally don't have to eat
anything but light. outside the window
the horse is running away even as 
the headless man pleads with her.
he holds a golden apple in each hand
but she is gone. are we always cruel 
to all those who love us too much? 
i made a scale for weighting my heart 
against a feather. my heart is very heavy.
i am a lichen queen. tomorrow when it rains 
i'll leave all the windows & doors open
& see who arrives.

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