Peel. by Aidan Walker

Isn’t dark yet, but the moon’s out.
I can see her bleach-white face
From where I lie beside the peeled fence
With the wood falling apart and my breath rising up.

My father says I shouldn’t trust the ocean.
You turn your back and it grabs you by the heel, he says.
You let your guard down and it peels you away from the land,
Just as the moon in turn peels it away from the shore.

Peels with a steady pull like my grandmother and the thread,
her needles watching careful, eyes too weak
to distinguish where space surrenders to filament.
Peeling like the word itself, dripping down, you follow:

I think that to peel is to pull the blossom from the rind,
and discard whatever else.

So the craters peel the moon.
So the moon peels the waves.
So the waves peel the man.
So the eye peels the page.

Sticker from the backing,
adhered to the ground beside the fence,
watching the darkening blue sky
colored same as the blood I see running
beneath my skin.

Her face is white like when you peel the bark away from a stick.
If the tree still bleeds, it shows green and moist –
Dry wood is best for a fire, though.