The Conifer Eater I
Erin Renee Wahl
She opened her throat wide, a woman, a cougar,
shaking the moss off her toes. She decided
to move for the first time in a hundred years.
Stood up quickly, startling ravens,
and the beginning of her was the end
of everything else. Hair gnarled like trunks
of trees, hungry growl in her stomach
she reached up to the needles of a pine tree,
grabbed a handful of green, stuffed, chewed.
She sold her soul long ago to the whisper and bend
of the windswept pines. Rattling her bones,
skeleton of stripped bark and wind and the bite
of fossilized branches hidden under limestone,
she stretched and cracked like the slow fall of granite.
Enmity was nothing to her now.
Gone was the whip of revenge,
the sunburned heat of passions.
Gone in a long sudden sweep
of life under branches.
A creaking oak in the midst of October,
she leapt to conclusions, she leapt to her feet.
A last look at her rocky resting place
and she took off into the trees
to leave behind the memories of rock and bone.
A lima bean shaped crater in stone
the only evidence she existed in this place.
The wind howls over the mountain.
Silver water rushes over the crag.
She goes on and is gone.
Erin Renee Wahl's work has appeared in Sterling, Literary Juice, Dirty Chai, Blackmail Press, and others. She currently lives in Alaska where she's building a house.