… the hanging tree.

By J. K. McDowell

January 2015.


I want your sugar raw, unrefined, and

Unrestricted. Tracing the edges of your

Dark crystalline desire, ever so slow to dissolve.


The calendar grid already slices the flesh

Of the first month into neat squares of misery.

The countless drops of blood are held from view.


I knew your praise last year was off key and maybe

A little sour. These things do not bother me,

I drink malt vinegar straight from the bottle.


I am windproof, the flame from my father’s favorite

Lighter. Perhaps a mistaken metaphor,

Sentimental smell of the flint strike and lighter fluid.


James, I can’t answer to the horrors of the world

Or even my failures on this first week of the

New Year. So please, stop pressing the replay button.


The future is full of roofing nails resting in the grass.

Lush steel and green blades, both cold on bare soles.

I prefer the dry, brown dust, beneath the hanging tree.