How we suffered in the shiftless desert.
Worn children with bloodied knees and
flayed palms, breathing fire from wrinkled
lungs. We were wind-blown orphans,
rough as Joshua trees. I can still feel
your sweat-sticky hands on my shoulders,
balancing the whole of you on the whole of
me, sucking dry heat through new teeth
as I pulled gravel from your wounds.
The strays became feral.
Cruel hands that bound and beat left behind
the stench of primordial rot which pervaded
thought. The mind altered, transmuted, and
what once was will never be again. It’s the
nocturnal ones that survive – eyes made to
see in the dark.
There was no time for nonage.
We sloughed off youth, used its shell
as tinder, our rage as spark, and warmed
our raw bodies. Breasts and hips, full
pouts, wild eyed. Women forged out of
urgency. Our tongues swelled with words we
didn’t know how to speak. Too early grown.
We snapped and snarled until our jaws hung
limp. A pause. You turned your face to the stars,
howled at the moon, and I noticed the dirt
still under my nails.
Ashley Green is a Southern California writer with poems featured in Poets Reading the News, Ink & Voices, and TheNewVerse.News, among others. For more of her work (and general ramblings), you can find her at http://www.moderncrone.me.