On The Map Of The Neighborhood

I swam over roads as the trapped rains rose. My allegiance to lines: even as the pavement distorted under refractions of cloud-light through brackish waters. By midnight only chimneys remained above water. I slept perched, one lid open, one closed. I dreamt of being in a car driving swiftly west, of finding a wall and climbing it. After the wall, there were mountains, owned by no state, claimed by no god, but to scale them, I had to strap on crampons. I tethered rope through my belt straps. The climb took all night. When I reached the side where there was no god and there were no rains, I woke on my own chimney, lifted both eyelids, surveyed the muddy waters by dawn-light. Why bother? I floated East on my back, hung above the park so I could swim out of lanes. That night, awake on the precipice of the next storm, a tree floated by me glowing green and yellow. I grabbed at its branches. Together, we floated North, where rooted evergreens peeked above the water. We collided into one, so I rested, ran my hands over the lights of the glowing tree I had swam with. The lights were mushrooms, and I was hungry, so I ate them, then waited on my fingers to turn green, orange, to ignite, but instead I grew very sick in the dark. In the limbs of an evergreen, in the dark, I dreamt the peak of a mountain, roped, I dreamt the edge of a gate, a border, a fence. I drew a map of the neighborhood, traced the lines with my luciferin tongue. The edges glowed.

*

Aimee Wright Clow is a writer and book designer living in Durham, NC, where she co-curates the Octopod Poetry & Music Series. Her book arts project, A Brief Map of Albany, is available from Utilities Included. aimeewrightclow.com

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