You are young but don’t know it.
It is going to be a very long walk. Your imagination
is too small to contain it.
Your ankles will break
and bleed right down through your soles.
You’ll sleep on stone,
host a colony of vermin, upturn a nest of bees.
It is not going to show
itself, the way. Not for miles. You’ll find
a shelter. It will keep off some rain. You’ll hide
out. You’ll rest. You’ll let the forest
night voices whisper themselves hoarse.
You will be good and it will save you
for a while. You’ll get what everyone
who meets you believes you deserve.
You’ll trust you’ve earned your freedom
from your doppleganger’s claim. You’ll recall
of course how it felt to be grabbing back
at the throat of that you-faced everyman
as it clawed for yours. A battle
of reach, both of you lengthening
the distance while bridging
the gap. You will dream it
alive. You will walk on the sunny side
just to be safe.
I will be there
always turning my own face skyward
in a clearing I’ve torn
by hand. You’ll pass so close,
you’ll smell the raw earth.
You will give
yourself away. You will argue
and win the scuffle but not
someone (you thought) promised. You will caulk
the cracks with the climb
the gear. You will see yourself
in photos and wonder
where that weighted stranger came from
and went, how you never noticed
the shadows dropping like molted
feathers across signpost, stone,
face. You had wound the haze
into a skein and packed it up
with zip ties and strapping tape
and locked it in a trunk
and tucked the key deep
in your scabbard.
You will need to hang
to signal or maybe
You will curse the absence
of that lethal cord
just at the moment
and snakes its way back to you.