Feng Sun Chen

from Butcher's Tree

By the Dark

Two travelers boil in it.
Curtains of dry rock drink the glue
of their sweat.

Maybe they have
a train to catch
or the field of soft stone is a field of milk teeth

they cannot sleep as dreams snag in the esophagus
tear through twin hearted flesh
through bones made of shale.

One can see the other’s rage.
His rage is small but dense. It catches the wet light
by its webbed gravity.

He looks up at the dark
socketed between a ring of mountains.

rage grows smaller and denser
with each point of old light.

That there should be so much walking
and so much distance
even burnt comets must pass.

That his shame should come so far.
That none of this could release him.

The skin on his forehead is pulpy.

He could go back to the woods.

He could go back to the sea if he closed his eyes.

No going anywhere.
His two hearts are growing teeth.

Feng Sun Chen’s Butcher's Tree is forthcoming from Black Ocean.

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