Post-Mortem of a Fallow Field
by Grace Lawrence | January 11, 2022
I dreamt of home last night.
Your eyes were green – a cut of lime
against the tongue – they startled me like birds start
at the sheep-herds bawling. You had warned of something
mystic, pearl chowders, purple dusks –
you had said: God writes in chemtrails. Dewdrops are remembrance
of touch. We walked like lead to the field we planted
last Spring and I said: You never speak
when I am dreaming. We walked the next field ripe
with grief. You left your coat in a puddle, it was mopped up
by the breeze. Why won’t you speak?
You howled and howled so silently, each vowel
coarse as wind that makes the tree spines shiver. We waited
for the crop to bear charred teeth from wilted barley.
You never speak to me. I dreamt
your hands were hard lightning that cracked the earth in yard-halves
like an egg. Speak to me.
I dreamt of clots of dahlias
frail roots upturned from mud
your smile lemony moonlight blood oranges ruddy pulp
I felt your breath hot on my skin lost within the wind –
I won’t call you a spectre:
you are too vivid.
At noon, the fever lifts like a veil. Salt tastes of embalmment. You are
swimming in red water and
on the beach I chew sand into dust
and dust into light. You leave
a palimpsest of footprints
from the estuary to the grave and still:
You never speak to me.
I’ll wake and press an urchin to your sternum –
tuck a note
into the cavern of your chest.
Take me with you.
The tide tugs
at the body, claims the atrium
as its cage.
In the wreck
we’ll plant forget-me-nots.
you do. ∎
Words by Grace Lawrence. Artwork by Luca Thompson.