"Hide and Seek" - Lorien Campbell



"Hide and Seek" - Lorien Campbell


River, wind, whispers in stones; decay in naked,
Bulbous lilacs. Skirts and pants leap, released
From concrete walls, unchained from desks, pencils
Stab their palms.
Laughter runs on bare feet through thorny cracks.

Weeds higher than beanstalks twist to heaven.
Eyes infested with butterflies, woodlice,
And desiccated crabs—in the muddy river dolls’ heads
Bob like nests of snails.
River, wind, whispers, stones; decay in naked, bulbous lilacs.

Why they come here is unknown, even
To the women in skirts and flats. Getting stuck in mud
Full of moss. Ripping socks. Spiders’ claws flail.
Twigs stab their palms.
Laughter runs on bare feet through thorny cracks.

Joan, Jill, Jen, drowned last year. Faces floating
Under sun and rain. Shadows pass.
No one knows what promises lured them too far
From shrill voices calling names.
River. Wind. whisper the stones. Naked, bulbous lilacs.

Blood, a yell, a splash. Water rises, ripples dance.
Slender backs pecked by red-beaked crows, searching
Spanish moss filled with tiny bones.
Laughter runs on bare feet through thorny cracks.

School-bells toll broken-tongued. Wracked
Teachers count, recount, mouths clenched
Against mathematic rules, (one plus two).
Rosters stab their palms.
Laughter runs on bare feet through thorny cracks.
River. Wind. Whispers in stone. Decay in naked, bilious lilacs.


First-time reader Lorien Campbell performed "Hide and Seek" at Word of Mouth open mic on May 7, 2014. The image above is "Elegy for Moss Land" [1940]by Clarence John Laughlin.

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