“Ash Lee” by Robin Wyatt Dunn

Come with me, it won’t be far; we have all night, and the seasons with it, in your heart:  I’m dying. I’ll tell you about the nearer part of it, if you like, it’s only the empire on its axis, and in my legs, running deep down low into the grass and loam, to find its ashes.

Ashley is a common name for the same reason, her empire within the meadow, circumvalenced by the scar of white gray fertilizer;  ash down. Star speckles and night.

It won’t take long; I promise. Not too long. I remember the lights of Los Angeles like this, the sky:  so bitter and near and she’s wading with beauty, like drunk lovers. Ashen over the main and stem and dreaming. It weren’t for long, your loving, I know:  not near enough.

Take me, over near, enacted bare and miscreated, in the rapt and riotous mainsail of the body, moving, grinding the stone to wheat, my paste, and fire:

“What is it that you want exactly?”

“I’m dead;  it’s you. I want to be more dead. Dead forever.”

These ashes are my face in the winter; numberless reeds. Death becomes not her but her ellipsis, yoking the light here to our hands in night. Death becomes not her but ours, secret and full;  rimed with dust; ancient kept shallow to vent its radiation out from within:

“It does look dead.”

“It’s only a mile from town.”

“Like a cemetery.”

Black blue and white and yellow. She is mostly grey. The stars are silver; my hands red from the cold.

I’ll be a man;  I’ll be a winter man.

The alien within me forces me up into my mouth, not to speak but see:  like a lighthouse seeking oceans, bred for mourning, bred to be enraptured. It’s all right. I promise it won’t be long. It will all be gone.

Not dear or fear but bread;  lightning and sound. Arc duff and down, the river of our discontent, wider than continents, the evening low as her lips, shall circumvent my ire, if, and if, or when:

All are surrounding us, like legions, ghosts. The dead city and the bright wintered night in town. The grass is a lumber casket;  and she is a white grave; I’m tumbling through.

Robin Wyatt Dunn was born in Wyoming in 1979. He is a graduate student in creative writing at the University of New Brunswick, Canada.

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