Forest’s pine needles made a false floor
that broke away below me, earth

loosening around the tree’s roots
and the rotting log’s hollow chambers.

I fell ass-first in the dappled brook
grasping moss-covered rocks,

and scrambled uphill as twigs cut gashes
on my legs, two thin lacerations stinging

with thistles’ kisses. To stop myself
from slipping into a nearby fox den,

I fingered half a sheep’s skull, purple collagen
hardened to its ridged teeth and skimmed

my hand against a lichen-covered trunk.
It was a smooth rail that pulled me upright.

I held tightly to snapping branches
as maggots writhed, then vanished.

Suspended between certain dirt
and a glossy cobweb caught at head height,

the tree’s outstretched digit caught hold
of my ring and wedded itself to me.

This appeared in the November 2015 issue.

Cassidy McFadzean (cassidymcfadzean.com) published her first full-length collection, Hacker Packer, in April.




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