Sasha West Doubt

In the church
I listened
to a faith
haunted by trees.
From a tree
had come
our exile.

In my mind, death
was a forest
burned
to ground.
Carbon dug
from earth started
the blaze.
I believed
I could swallow
difficult knowledge
like the Eucharist—
endure. I asked
to know
everything you
could tell me,
I swallowed the bitter

pomegranate seeds.
Not Eve, I was
Persephone
whose eating
keeps her
underground. Half
the year
my mind rewilds
itself deep in the coal
mines, deep in the artic
blaze. The tree looks

to be
living but is
mostly dead
wood—just a few
millimeters
under bark
and leaves make
what we see
as life.

Rest

in the crucible
of anxiety. It will
destroy you. It
will transform
you.

What I know has

died inside me
to make bone.


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