appalachian gods don’t believe in me

appalachian gods don’t believe in me

appalachian gods don’t believe in me 1920 1280 Matthew Mitchell

& i refuse to believe that the waveform i scribbled into your bedroom wall has become a flatline beneath tiny amulets of white light, glowing carcasses scintillating in the moonlit night, & i’m not sure what to make of the transmission of the hospice van humming in the space your laugh once occupied, but now your bones inhabit

& from beneath my covers i imagined you asleep the same way i slept across the hall when the firecrackers were going off near your window. & now, when i sleep in your room, on the mattress with an indentation left by your remains, i wake up & my heart skips a beat & i cough up a relic of your grease-stained hands—it is then that i know i’ve inherited your dirty lungs.

& this christmas is colder than normal & i still sweat through clothes i haven’t washed since i came home from college & your body’s cooling under the flames of a wildfire in the belly of the monongah mine. & i’m overwhelmed with grief, but i’m not here to be romantic about it

& the glowing bodies have nothing to do with the glistening lanterns above your bed. & how they sparkle & dance into blurry goblets over your dying ambulance of a body is my reason for running away from the heart monitor’s claws that keep pulling you back for a moment to smile with your gums while your son cries by your bedside

& the meds hibernate in the bottom of your throat. & i don’t know enough about bodies & the movements they make to tell my mother where your sleep ended & i’m angry you won’t meet my wife or my children so i inscribe the skeleton of your name under the jagged mountains on your bedroom ceiling & press it into the topography of my future son’s birth certificate. & if heaven is technicolor, then appalachia is burning beneath blood-crusted mountains.

Header photograph © J. Bish.

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  • Sheldon Lee Compton 04/12/2019 at 3:24 pm

    Wow this is some really unique stuff dealing in part with Appalachia. I’m always thrilled to see that sort of thing. I’d never read anything by this author but would likely buy anything he puts out now. We need MORE of this from the mountains not LESS. We need a lot lot more.

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