Sometimes to get away from the house
without going far, I weave through two acres
of blue spruce, black oak, dogwood, holly
(someone told me I could tap our sugar maples,
make them bleed), trees that seem like me,
together and alone all their lives for just
one thing and now in their deep reds and golds,
colors for a king or God, all wise and unconcerned
they beckon me to touch their skin and keep
moving amongst them, a most welcome trespass,
and how they tortured my husband
from the first day we moved in, how they insisted
on being right where they were,
and if I look up I can find the metal platform
nailed high in a tree which we let that guy
install in exchange for sanding and staining
our wood floors. I’d watch him from the kitchen
window all decked out in his camouflage
like he was going to war, huge bow and long,
sharp arrows (only on days the girls were in school),
in a stillness and resolve I’ll admit were admirable.
Once I saw a doe tip toeing through the leaves
and I wanted to warn her but instead, I watched.
The stink of bleach creeps
up my wet gown, a man’s
hand on my back. Praise
the age of sin, I am eight
in this hall of mirrors,
a fount, most sacred place.
I descend, all those feet
lining the lip, heavenly
Father, Son, look down
upon me. I know nothing
better than secrets.
There is no Holy Ghost
inside me. Thrust me
back, down, water floods
mouth, nose, tiny white
panties drenched, then up!
My parents weep into
songs of salvation.
I am terrified. I cannot
show it. In this way,
I have pleased everyone.
Artwork by: Olivia Pridemore
Olivia Pridemore is a multi-dimensional artist based in Nashville, TN. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Silver Needle Press and teaches writing courses at Austin Peay State University. Her works have appeared in Portland Review, Permafrost, Sand Hills, Bridge, The Ocotillo Review, The Raw Art Review, Round Table, Ampersand, and elsewhere.