Thorpe Moeckel

Beginning to Peel

To lay among the pale stations
of maple leaves in a breeze,
the ground a soft bedding
where wild ginger mingles
with cleavers and mayapple
in patches so dense it seems
the cyclopic blossoms need
no light but that which oozes
from leaf-rot & old nut husks,
their hulls upturned as though
dragged from moorings by
the spring tide; to lay, watching
the shadows flicker & sway,
letting the oaks’ hair fall, strand
by pollenacious strand, fall,
little ticklers, on the tough meat
of our necks; warmer air spilling
from the sun-anointed fields,
is to feel our stems burn
to a vain, lusty pink, selfless
with desire somehow, bark
beginning to peel, long,
sclerotic mats. Spores collect
in our nooks & cavities, sap
like a bleeding outward
beneath archipelagos
of mold, coal-black & crusty.
What are our bodies now
if not a spangling of veins
deaf to all vision save
the worship of flesh by tongue,
eyes, even closed, puddles
where frogs are swimming
and singing & staying alive?

Thorpe Moeckel
Beginning to Peel is reprinted from Making a Map of the River (Iris Press 2008).