How Far Back Can You Remember?

In the spirit house I am alone, inescapable,
the way out found by looking in down through
the rafters—only shrieking, no shimmer, sorry,

Ashbery. Sorry Asheville, I can’t stay. Hidden
black bears, disheveled Black Mountain are too
obvious reminders of all we’ve lost. So many

secrets in the spine of Appalachia, I’m trying
to tap them out. Over-turning musk-covered peaks
to catch a clue, find a longing with nothing left

to long for except ennui and burned-up roaches…
Mix tea leaves with heart beat so loud: muddle
into a sedative as soft counterweight. Next day I find

a single scarlet Carolina leaf, and when I pick it up
it pulls me from the fabric world. The lesson: memories
are generic spectres of truth…
Then I hear

your footprints call my name, but your eyes will turn
to orchids waiting for my signal back—everything
is an imaginary reason to keep holding out for more.


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