Brittany Kleinscnitz '13
I tried to keep hell
in a box outside of the body.
My footfalls on the mountain’s backbone
opened hell up again
in my thighs and the shallow of my lungs.
Heat whines down -
the sun beats the tops of my hands
till they swell purple.
The shoulder straps so tight
the blood stops moving. Does the white flower
that grows above the bushline
I left my mother seven hours in,
on a raised wooden platform.
The god in my head says
Carry this boulder
until your toenails fall off
until your toenails grow back again.
A parrot lands on the rock face,
his green scales dirty and rustled.
He looks down at me, shrieks,
he tells me my mother is dying. He insists
on the last skins of my almonds,
or a toenail.
I see my mother’s white body
where it staggers along the ridge.
With my two fingers
holding down the tongue, I whistle loudly
into the valley and hear the same whistle
back. I throw a rock into the valley and
the valley throws the same rock back.
My knees break. The flower is able
to find its breath
before the boulder rolls down.