How Far Back Can You Remember?

Mixed tea leaves and heart beats so loud,
muddle into sedatives as a counterweight.
In the spirit house, I am alone, inescapable,

the way out only found by looking in, down
through the rafters, only shimmer, no
shrieking. Sorry, Ashbery. Sorry Asheville,

I can’t stay. Your hidden black bears,
disheveled Black Mountain are too obvious,
a reminder of all we’ve lost. There are so

many secrets in the spine of the Appalachia,
I’ve been trying to tap them out, over-turning
musk-covered peaks to catch a clue, only

finding a longing with nothing left to long for,
ennui and burned up roaches. The day after,
I find a single scarlet Carolina leaf alone with me,

and when I pick it up, it pulls me from the fabric
of this world, gives me advice: all memories
are generic spectres of truth. I hear your footprints

call my name, but it’ll turn your eyes to orchids
waiting for my signal. Everything is an
imaginary reason to keep holding out for more.


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