By: Tessa Livingstone
NOTHING DOWN THERE BUT TREES
Under the floating leaves I caught a glimpse of the crocodile
receding into weed-wild marsh. A tangle of root & wildflower.
Nothing down there but trees. But I saw the bodies in the basket,
warm and unmoving. Their swollen black bellies & unopened
eyes. Your hands moving toward its unhinged jaw, and fireflies
like lit pilot lights. I heard the low gurgle. The blistering crack.
The woodpecker immersed in his work, pounding away at birch
bark, and soft sounds from the hound dog searching the woods.
Her lolling tongue and frantic panting. Wet nose pressed to dirt.
STRUNG BETWEEN WHAT GROWS
I made home in Appalachian old-growth.
A towering tree, twenty stories up, where
I live & eat & spit. Where I sit and make
bird sounds. Where I slit open the bellies
of catfish & rabbits, cooked on a propane
stove. And drink tea steeped in rainwater.
Suspended over salmon streams. Switch-
backs. Felled logs swelling with centipedes.
Skunks foraging for mushrooms that bloom
under stumps. This plywood platform &
canvas tarp: my only wealth. Where I am
alone, and the woods are all over.
Tessa Livingstone is a poet who lives & writes in Austin, TX. She enjoys engaging the transformative and the macabre in her work, which has appeared in Josephine Quarterly, Anti-Heroin Chic, Moon City Review, Water~Stone Review, Five:2:One Magazine, Whiskey Island Magazine, and Portland Review, among others. She holds an MFA from Portland State University.