Harvest Moon


Come and lay with me, here in the amber leaves.

Don’t tell me anything. No whispers; no promises you want to keep and won’t. Do not dare to name the names my dreams are longing to hear – and whatever you do, don’t say any one of the single things my breath is holding itself for.

In this silence, the crows will come and feast on the breathless corpse of everything I wish to leave behind. 

Don’t say anything.

There is a piece of me that I have decided to hold onto. For now, at least. And if you say a single word about it, I promise you, I will never listen to anything again, but the beat of those crows’ wings against the cold north winds as they clamor over the remains of those parts of me I will not name.

So be silent. I have a story for you. It is the story of an orchard over-filled with too-ripe apples, splitting their skins and sickly sweet. It is the story of worms wheedling their way inside them; a story of flies clustering in great black hordes around them.

Be silent. This is the story of the berried branches of my childhood, where the weight of the dark fruit brought whole hedgerows to ruin, collapsing them beneath the burden of their terrible, ponderous weight.

Do you understand? There is no preservation. If the Harvest does not come, there is still no salvation.

There is nothing but the putrid stench of rotting fields; of animal carcasses piled ten feet high, and burning. This too, I have seen.

Knowing this, understand what I am telling you when I say I have decided to hold onto it. I am dying – aren’t we all? It is better to let the crows pick my body clean by nightfall, than to ask me to lie in the October sun, slowly bleaching and fading away.

But this one thing, I have buried. Yes – you must bury that which you wish to keep. That is why people lay their bodies in the ground like seeds; like treasure. They worship death with trembling, admirable reverence.

Listen: one day you are washing your clothes in the river. The next day you are washing your hands. One day you will wash your parents’ corpses, and one day your body will be the corpse that is being washed. The river will live far longer than you, but it will not remember.

That is why you have to bury things. The ground remembers; twists itself and changes shape, in order to conform to the memory.

That is why I tell you to be silent. There is nothing “right” to say. Not to me. Once I am gone, I am gone. I will not remember what you said.

Here we lie, in breathless silence, waiting for the crows. All around us the stars are falling, like the veil of night itself.

Perhaps I was wrong, and it is not the crows that are coming after all. Perhaps it is just the stars, here to dance with us on the pyre of the dying year. Perhaps I was even lying, to see if you would lay with me, knowing we were listening for our deaths. Perhaps there is no difference, and the stars and the crows are one and the same.

Everybody has a grave. That grave should not be inside of somebody else.

If you understand that too, I will tell you where I buried it.

Where the West Wind Moves


It was cloudless last night. The moon was new and sharp, shining so brightly that the rest of the world was shrouded in perfect velvet black. The wind was wild, and the trees that lined the streets were being whipped into demonic frenzy. The air was alive, and just stepping out into it made the blood come alive too; made me restless, prowling, hungry.

I thought of everything; and yet I didn’t. I thought of all of us, the children of this world and – too often unknowing – this wilderness. My shadow blurred in the shade of the possessed trees, my ears awake and listening to the song of the night – the blend of the savage sea in the distance and the cars roaring, far nearer -and my own heart alive and beating with the same certainty of every footstep that led me deeper into this tryst. From across the urban landscape, the fragrant sea salt rose above the grime and toil of the ghosts of the traffic, laying over the roads and refreshing them with a dream of nature – the memory of who we were, before we crammed our lives into boxes and glowing screens.

I followed the road.

I dreamed that walking this road would be akin to touching a memory. I dreamed that it could re-awaken every part of me that has long lain sleeping ‘neath the weight of my own ghost – that decaying spirit of everyone I am supposed to be. I dreamed of a “God” who knows I was born to run wild and free beneath this grinning crescent moon. I dreamed of my body as something earthy and spiritual; something fearless.

I am in love with the earth, and in love with the moon. I am in love with my own heart, and the parts of me that yearn for the simple freedom of being myself; the part of me that knows the skin I wear is chafing and too small; the part of me that leaps wildly when the wind crashes through the branches, and remains true; even as the shades of other things shred my outline and alter my external shape. The part of the shadow that does not move. I love it.

The road became a grassy knoll. I lay down beneath a tree and stretched to the sound of the waves, the grass pricking like a warning at the back of neck. The branches caressed the face of the white moon and blocked it out.

A stray breeze plucked two leaves free and they flew away, beyond my sight. Such would be death, I think; one stray wind – then freedom. Such are we – no more, or less, than leaves.

Originally published on Anima Monday, April 2019