Once the Pagans of Patapsco Wood

We laid snake bone by the roots
of the four trees fused at the waist.

We dug tourmaline in the creekbed,
dry that time of year and every year
between honeysuckle loam and wood rot.

We sniffed skunk weed from the pit
where the freakshow gathered and blazed
up a bonfire tacked of pith and reeds,
quick lit and soon extinguished.

For the shrieks, we dug trenches
and flamed out stubbed corn stalks
with a gallon of gasoline –
we ran from the cops.

We ran ratline in the stormdrain,
stared down a slow train,
drank palmfuls of cold rain,
and suckled a gas main.

We found a toothed hunk of iron
and took it to the four trees,
and there, where the four trunks met,
we set it down in a manger
of tourmaline and skunkweed –
called down the sun on snakebone,
and howled –
when nine leaves fell to our feet.

Image: Martin Brechtl on Unsplash

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