folk tale

folk tale

folk tale 1801 1080 Vic Nogay

CW: Child loss

every year
when it snows, a blushing
stain of berry juice grows
beneath american holly

behind the shed at the
back of our lot
just before the meadow
dives into rugged, wooded

rocks and fallen limbs
down to the creek where
frogs and flies and birds play
murder in the summer. in winter,

the holly hosts one white squirrel
who blends in niveous and ghost-like.
berry droppings from his fetes
dot the bleached earth.

they wouldn’t let me take the body,
born before i even knew, so i
burned my clothes and buried the ash
beneath the holly before the ground froze.

when the snow melts,
the berries hallow the earth;
i check the spot every spring to see
if there’s a baby growing from the ground.


Header photograph by Larena Nellies-Ortiz.


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