Krysten Leidig

Where I End (and the world begins)

There's a city in my head
(it doesn't make sense)
rivers flee and flowers bleed
and everything (everything) is made – and dies –
in singularity
suffocation rings a bell
that signals (destruction) truth
reality is clouded (I wear a lens)
tinted red and bordered sharp
the edges of reality seep
and cut my waking thoughts
late at night I feel the truth
and almost (almost) feel the
proof that I am not insane
that I am contrived and meaning(ful)
I am unique (nature is not)
nature is grass and green and trees
birds and flowers and (destruction) rain
see the grass grow neat and straight
(only to be plowed by wind -
by feet – by sheep)
see the trees persist and weep
and break their limbs (in protest of fate)
the taste of inevitability on (my lips)
stepping forward is falling back
we destroy (forget) the world is alive
we bring forth the end of times
(we are tiny and we are weak)
we are the reason rivers flee

All I Am

I am sad.

It cuts to the bones

and wraps itself up my limbs

ivy suffocating a tree

how curious it is to find yourself

through nature

in nature

I am a stinging nettle

from the top of great hills

I am a soft green leaf

but if you stand too close

I am poison

I will hurt you

I look on birds with envy

free little magpies

how intoxicating it must be

the power to fly

I would run from everything

and be a bird forever

I breathe in the air

and it passes through me

The breeze will see things

I will never know,

Why can't I

fly across the world?

There are ditches in the ground

there are holes in my heart

I kick a stone from my path

and replace my heart with wind

because I am tiny

I am replaceable

What I Have Become – the Deviant Rocker

I knew every point of the Downs. Growing up, days would pass by as I sat unmoving by my window. I never studied anything as carefully as I studied those green hills. If I looked closely enough, I could atomize the colors. They ran into each other and rose and fell in muddy banks and yellow flowers. There were some days when the clouds didn't move at all. Other times rain clouds stormed the horizon. These clouds were full of greys and dark, dirty white. They were overpowering. They brought a sheet of water that washed into me, taking me piece by piece into the ground. Every drop passed through me and fed the green.

I often find myself in a little room outside my house that overlooks the hills. It was once a shed but when I was younger my mother insisted that I needed my own space. I read books here. Sometimes she would walk in and offer me tea. I'm not sure why, but I would never drink it. Sometimes I brought it inside and dumped in on the kitchen floor. It made no sense, but it seemed right. My mom would shake her head at me and tell me, "You will never make it out alive." In my mind she meant the hills that held so much power over me.

My mother died last week. I haven't been inside my house in four days. I don't even have tea anymore. I dragged her old rocking chair into my shed. I enjoy sitting in it and rocking to the wind. If I close my eyes and focus very calmly, sounds slowly drop out layer by layer. First are the industrial sounds of the cursed town that bulldozed its way into the hills when I was a child. Next to go are the woodland creatures. The birds stick around a bit longer. I suspect this is out of personal preference. I always wanted to be a bird. Eventually the birds' songs mingle with the wind until that is all that's left. The soft marriage of unseeable air moving past my ears carrying soft mellow notes from the birds. Here, sitting in my mother's rocking chair with my eyes snapped shut tight, I hear my mother's voice.

"You'll never make it out alive," she whispers to me again and again. Her voice too swirls into the air and becomes another part of the chorus. This all mingles together. My mother, the Downs, the wind. I understand this now. I couldn't understand when I was a child. We are all part of the Downs. I slowly rock back and forth listening and becoming a soloist as I stand and glide into the green. There are storm clouds today and the rain they bring forms the beat to this sick melody. The rain is taking me with it. "You'll never get out of here alive." Piece by piece I sink into the Downs and take my place among the birds.