Steven Karl

& I Dragged My Sister’s Feeble Body Up The Mountain

sometimes crawling on fours like a pig
pushing through the weeds & waste &

when she went mad & oh, when sister went
mad we tied her hands & feet & he took

her tied hands & feet & slung that body
filled with bird bones over the back

of my brother & over the back of my
brother they dragged sister away

ascent of sister where the bodies
go to die & I kept my gut

from bursting
but then

I was gutted
& then I bursted

& I became what she had
already become & as a wraith I

scoured that mountain looking for
sister, I turned over each picked clean

bone I became an ant & entered the rot
with the maggots I became branch to hear

the chatter of crows I became a stream
to taste the rocks for her blood I became

a wraith to search at night & know how
the dead curses life but the sky rejected

me so on fours I crawled through
the weeds & waste covered in mud

from the rains I snorted & snarled
& sunned on the rocks & the mud

dried & cracked & brother
came & mother came &

father came & they brought the body
of a girl who had been ravaged & they dropped

that ravaged thing of a being
upon the rock & chanted to the day thing

to soothe her ruined soul & they
did not recognize me as a pig & if they

did recognize me they would have called me
betrayal & they would have tried to kill me

& offer up my dead killed body without
praise or peace which is how brother left

sister, mad to go more mad
to fight with maggots & crows for

food & this is when I knew this is when
the first burst came & my blood

boiled & shouted sister & my eyes burst into sockets
of spraying blood & my heart severed itself

upon my cage & my cage ripped through
its skin & I became a wraith & I became

a brother who had lost a sister & I became
a sisterless thing of this world & so I

went to the mountain
the mountain where

the rocks jut out & punctuate
space of sky the mountain

where the crows covered
the sky black the mountain

of bared rocks sucking in
sun the mountain of the

banished the mountain of
the given up & the ravaged & mad

made & mad gone the mountain
where they bring the dead the mountain

which receives the dead the mountain
which receives & makes what is not dead dead

& to the sky again ravaged & raged
I soared & my head burst open & the mountain

& the mountain received me
& as the mountain received me

I said
I said

Steven Karl is the author of Dork Swagger, forthcoming from Coconut Books (Fall, 2013). Recent or forthcoming poems can be found in TYPO, jubilat, NOÖ Journal, Keyhole and others. He is an editor for Coldfront Magazine and Sink Review and lives in Miami, FL.

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