Fear the Trees

There were figures in the night who blended with the trees & we could only see their eyes—every shade of violet. They moved when we did. They breathed when we breathed. It was impossible to tell how many surrounded us, or what they wanted. Or maybe they didn’t want. Or maybe they were the trees, just waking up.

If we shouted at them, they blinked. If we found absolute silence they faded. We couldn’t sleep or stoop to eat for fear they would overcome us. We reached into the ground for nourishment & found we weren’t hungry or thirsty. We looked up at the moon—constant in our seven-week night—& found we weren’t tired.

It took four weeks to realize they were us. & two more to realize we were the trees. Reaching down into the earth. Reaching up toward the moon. When they were silent we faded. When they shouted we blinked. When the daylight returned they were gone. There was nothing in sight but trees.


Bloom Against

against our bodies wrapped
through their history of ache

bodies absorbing into themselves
sound bending through broken glass

bodies reaching for the comfort food
of televised love

bodies claiming synchronized victory
& defeat over what some call light

bodies cradled in their own evolution
blooming toward that sacred need


Apocryphal Fragments

the chosen chiseled commandments

into their bones

tattooed psalms

on firstborn tongues

burnished divine

law inside whales

took their feet off

before God

why do we keep returning to this place
where all we have is a misremembered
history of having?

give me your broken

your upstream

your giving in        giving up

give me your harassed & abused

I will love them

with my best & most bruised heart

we       unsung histories
dancing before God’s face in the moon
painting blood languages
scaling mountains to be closer
to the thunder, the voice it carries
setting bushes on fire           miracles
passed down through theater

eating locusts because we like the crunch

baptized in the river         life itself

aorta of a       land that

sets fire to its birthright

blessed are the censored
for they will become barnacles on the bellies of power

if we were scientific shapes
if we were earthen & yet otherworldly
if we were transitive & also shelter from storms
if we were broken-hearted yet still open-hearted
if we were evidence based in the fabric of dream
if we were light for each other like we were made to be
maybe we would be worthy
of this Eden we never left
but can no longer recognize

writing from old boots into grace
unclean hands into flowering trees
toward a prayer book of the eternal

the women went to the desert to pray
the women went       to baptize their feet in sand
the women went       because the men were tired of their voices

they drew doves in the sand

to mark a city of buried pain

woman is apocryphal being

lineage unspoken

the Sphinx guards her desires

maims any who get close

blessed are the wanderers
for their blood will not be bartered with

if they wander too long the women enter

Lilith’s domain

learn the dogma of wife     cast out

told               too dark to be sacred

face etched by sandstorms

back bulges       carrying water

a woman who touches Lilth’s face
is lost from the world of men

they ventured out from Sinai

wandered 40 days x 12

wrote the darkest

timeline     burnt it

in the desert

ate its ashes

died thirsty

blessed are the mourners
for their tears will be resplendent

Jessica Beyer is a writer and educator from Baltimore, MD. Her poems have appeared in Muse/AThe Adroit JournaldecomPRabid OakExpositionReview, and other journals and anthologies. She has an MFA from New York University and a BA from Emory University. You can find her waterskiing, SCUBA diving, and giving in to wanderlust whenever possible, but also online at jessicabeyer.com and @JessicaHBeyer.

Image: Dirty by EJ Fox (Creative Commons)