Chelsey van der Munnik | Slip

I wanted to let you know . . .


Every sentence an unmapped, tiring quest into the woods.

I am unsearchable, stranded in the middle of a forest of cold bark;

The end of my sentence somehow misplaced on the other side,

My crumb-trail to start over gobbled by sparrow beaks.

What have I even said so far? Now I’ve gone too far, I’m lost.


Leaves brush my cheeks, comforting my meek forgetfulness.

Mounds of buried prose. Collapsing resting stones lined up,

Sentence Lost, Conversation Lost. A family of died-at-births.

Words stack on words, piling too high, covered in chunky moss,

Becoming meaningless, fruitless in dry earth, trampled again, again.

I can’t always be there to catch pieces fall, dig them up, or revivify.


My tongue seizes in the feverish crepuscule of the lush forest.

Swamp gums slipping on teeth tombstones, falling out one by one.

Throat gasping, clawing at thick, jungle-hot air to complete the idea.

To catch the thoughts slithering through furtive trapdoors.

To untangle my phrases from espaliers, rose bushes, maple sap,

To try to pluck them out of rabbit holes, the mouths of snakes,

Squirrel holes in the trees, or bear traps with silver teeth and blood, blood.


Let me know what?

That . . .

I forgot what I wanted to say.


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