Devil’s Tramping Ground

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You’d suppose you’d be alarmed.
If shadowy figures stood around you when you opened your eyes
you’d suppose you’d be alarmed. Not us, headin’ back East. Dusk
lulls us by its familiar mass, stern and menacing tribute of
richness, the black from the obscurity placed in our eyes at birth,
our eyes we close against the prowling, our causes are in surplus,
our encounters in excess, and this discomforts us, seeing our
impulses toward reverent rest here.

In midst of shadow. Dark inexpressive forest,
it is them, encircled, I mean, they’re there but we’ve never seen
nor decrypted a face among them. Sleep of the sacrifice, stroke
us in the cradle of the residence, gingerly loving like a thing
worth dropping into the dismal abyss, viscerally worth smothering,
feed the predatory night the domesticating suffocation of babies,
whose seconds’ horror sight of mothers, a lifetime of recognition
that what took it was what takes and takes again when the statures
grow over you, place hands upon

the dead or merely sleeping. What
totems, what fetishes, dropped into the treeline long ago and far
beyond recovery, depth of awe, unknowing of echoes, cannot bring
us into us. Cannot bring us into us. Cannot bring us into us. Us,
are we decent? Are we a pleasant surprise of the halfway awaited
decents? Stern, the silent trees. Are we as unheeding advice of
the watershed where even the decent may cause incalculable harm
if shadowy figures stood around you when you opened your eyes?
You’d suppose you’d be alarmed.

Slightly blushing, from humidity, as well,
we understand we are one in the same the creatures that dreamed
enveloped in treelines on continents of undersides where hands
were bred to cover vision for practice and take life to save it
and in Chatham County, North Carolina, there is a place called
the Devil’s Tramping Ground where nothing will grow but you
could cut through the darkness to go right to the light with
the Devil’s walking stick. There.

What plans might y’all roast
when the treetops have faces.
But you turn away from them.
And observing your sleep, evil
treads ’round in a circle in
the dark, dark forests we left
to guard us from ourselves.

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