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.

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