More autumns than I have names
for; this season of ash and wilt, I count
backwards but I’m still here, in this one. The past
is impassable; a choked-out tunnel I find, over
and over again. Behind pine boards, the secret
passage is full of rubble; shale, dolomite
rocks mined in Ohio, brought by dump truck,
impossibly, over time. Every minute
swallows back more at the exact pace I could dig,
so I don’t.
Where would I go, if I could go, anyway? What’s waiting
for me, whose body can I enter, like a spirit, move
their arm with my arm, leg with my leg, to what purpose?
Why walk down the same street over again?
Where is the fun in knowing the weather for the day, the exact
moment gun-gray sky will relent, clouds will wring
themselves out over me. Our charcoal cotton shirt drinks the rain, clings
to skin, your skin, and eventually, my skin by proxy.
This is the closest we will ever be.
I spiritually unzip you, climb into
your ribcage, unfurl myself to every corner of you,
my fingers brim the glove of your skin. Some of me is bursting
at your seams. I’m taller now, and bright with time.
If I walk us back to the tunnel, will you dig for me there?
Rebecca Griswold is an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson. Her debut collection of poems is The Attic Bedroom (Milk & Cake Press, 2022). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Cimarron Review, Autofocus, Revolute, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, and others. She owns and operates White Whale Tattoo in Cincinnati alongside her husband.