thing of the Woods

I see a story on my family’s body, each gnarled branch a collective of punishment. I know the roots too well to trip, yet I do. To hike, my mother wears suede shoes more delicate than the skin of her heart. She spits to polish them but misses, instead hits the discarded foam of my father’s chair. When I ask him why, he points to the leaves. I chew them again and he pulls them from my mouth. Lays the paste to dry and builds us all another roof. I stare at the green. My sister paints it in rouge, desperate to forget the water, the way it freezes at night.


Besides, it was possible they’d revive.


they look like tiny, ripped-out human hearts.