november in new hampshire

in november, the leaves do not fall but are shot down, bullet shells cascading as bits of frost on the early morning grass. the leaves sleeping through red and yellow, awakening halfway to the ground in a bark-colored shell. winter let itself early into our throats. everywhere you went, you inhaled the cold. unspoken anger and abandonment, forgotten family heirlooms and memories of past lovers curling around your breath and clutching at it with witch-fingers.

it is the first snow and you are alone. too soon for the season, it rips away the mask of your strength; slices through the folds of reason and you are alone with only memories and fright. memories and fright and longing-

you stand nose to nose with another of your kind. you both raw and vulnerable and freezing. remembering and fearing and wanting to forget. your air-torn bodies pretending to be warmth to each other underneath black skies and white sheets and layers of impenetrable numbness. pretending that to give is to fill and be filled, that you are not growing emptier and emptier each time.

the fire heats but does not warm. one night you feel your body turning to ice, and clutch at flames for any warmth, any at all. the sparks jump inside of your belly, fill your lungs and eyes with smoke. first the wild red of burning, then only the ash-gray haze of afterward. sparks falling as buds on a curling stem, initiating some imperceptible growth amongst the winter-lonely embers of your insides.

and the stem climbs. first weeks and then a month, you and he and persistent memories. shorter days and smokier skies, harsher breaths and sharper winds. the plants outside being forced to crackle and collapse overnight, while beneath your skin that stem steadfastly reaches toward sunlight.

you feel it through the night-spun numbness, cough leaves onto the carpet.

take a knife, silver like the stars, close your eyes. outside the window, the greedy night is stealing life from trees and flowers, tomato vines and lost animals.

and you, inside, with the silver, cutting away the stem.
you, empty once more.

Contributor: Marina Kovacs-McCaney

Copyright © 2012 Marina Kovacs-McCaney. All Rights Reserved.

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