Chigger Ridge

by nicolecallihan

there the sun
did not rise
until we’d been
up for hours
then it
crowbarred
the day
turned the trees
from lead
to silver
turned the dead
to face
the river
the night again
the old poet
told me to
go to sleep
wait until
i dreamed
of an angel
and when
the angel speaks
the old poet said
listen to her
notice the color
of her dress
blue jean blue
then wake up
and write it
down in
the valley
all night i slept
i was naked
but i was not cold
and lo
i say unto you
the angel
did her bidding
and lo
she offered me
a slopjar
and lo a cat’s eye
marble
and lo she told me
not to be afraid
of the soul
and the grass
on the ledge
in which i lay
made me itch
with a violence
i’d carry away
o if the portrait
of the self
is a pallet
on the floor
if the floor
is as cold as
the night outside
if the night’s
got nothing
on the old man
out back
you say self
and point
to my chest
my head
but what of these
trees this still
star-soaked sky
what of the
cuts and tongues
and tins of meat
what of the self
can be cleaved
from the girl
on the ridge
who in the dark
with a cleaver
stands and lo
i say unto you
lo i say come
with me lo
i say stay

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