The Fall


Chard, Mario, Field


She disappeared, and left me dark.

-Paradise Lost

1

Small rain on the lake,

its glacial blue. Last at the tail

of a continental range.

1 followed you until the trail

grew too arduous to climb

without a stick. All rock

along the border of two countries

whose only war was which

still had the farthest city south.

The sticks we used kept snapping

in the roots. I found a branch

too heavy for the climb,

bare except a spiral knot.

You took it by the throat,

left me behind. I watched the knot

turn back into an eye.

2

That night I woke

and pulled the bed sheet back

to see the wound,

how the first bruise in dark

still blue beneath your naked foot

grew lines to others

like a trail of every rock

you broke against

cast in the half-light of the room.

In that dark I saw you climbing

over rock again, the yellow stakes

still bright against the trail. …

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