the first tree we ate was a last resort.
bitter tough bark. leaves rolled
for easier bites. the tree had always
served us well. tall & prying
the moon open slowly slowly slowly.
we'd already eaten onion grass
& gravel & a tiny sliver of a comet
we saved in the cellar for a special occasions.
branch by branch we gnawed. splinters
in teeth. if you eat a tree you also
eat their ghost. viscous with all their years
the ghost was tough & rubbery.
we took turns aching from it.
all the memories of rain spilling
down our throats. all the regret
a tree can clutch to. often
i blame my hungers on some faltering
of mine. if only i had a stronger will
i could feed only on heat & letters.
down to the knotted roots. shaking soil
from the tangles before stuffing them
into our mouths. seeing one another
with dirt stuck beneath our fingernails.
a shameful circus. like a shark feeding.
thirst-ridden roots. ghost spewing
pulses of depth. go deeper.
go deeper into the rough.
i wish this was the only tree
we devoured but the land still lay
empty of any true dinner plates.
i found a spoon once & hid it.
we eat even without hunger.
when you are sick, you can
convince yourself anything is
an obligation. i have to go now
& cut another tree down one limb
at a time. i'm told the last bird
died eighteen years ago. i was
too young to remember
but once we found a nest
& split it between us. the song
glimmered under our tongues.
we sang into napkins
only once & then it was gone.