local_library Mountain Pugilism

by Jared Burkhart

Published in Issue No. 245 ~ October, 2017

Fists bruised black;

char on the trees, fire season. A disease

Sundered cracks in your hands rub mine

I can’t stand on my own

you say I’m a boxer, a fighter; like

The blight can be fixed with one pill

The decay in my roots;

the stains on my genes

can be wiped off.

But my mom told me

“You can be anything you want to be”

I wanted

to be an evergreen

to stay always above the fire

Burning my family tree

I always thought of leaving

not through a glowing exit sign;

a bag. Masking breaths with helium

My lungs are carnival balloons. Catharus

Is lighter than air, than

Coaxing myself from torn blankets and

Sloping mattresses.

Out of my splattered like an accident room.

My legs hanging like a noose from the windowsill

I stopped taking the pills

I used to see the hills from here

But now I can’t see past my neighbor’s fence

filters the view

Filters like the vanilla

That stings my lips and my throat

You tell me to have hope

But the only hope I know is

The hope that

this feeling will end soon

The feeling of my fists bruised

And my branches burned

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Jared describes himself as an 18 year-old queer poet from Montana.