Elegy for a Trauma

K Janeschek

In the wet           earth, a footprint
                              than the one before. Do you enter
with your finger
                         or a fist
   first?                       It doesn’t matter—the ground
doesn’t grip
            like it                     used to. Dirt slides off
     slick                                        skin. If the sun
came           out, you would                     harden,
    burn                              your exposed hip.
                       You would leave
softness in a pile                        behind your scalp.
                              For a long time,             you’ve lived
               between this root
                            and the rain,
the sting                           of gentleness
    stashed                                             inside your throat.
Do you want to
                            be haunted or                 held?
                                                              Before you
        answer: smear the mud
                                          with your other foot,
lift a pebble from the path.

K Janeschek is a nonbinary and lesbian writer originally from the Midwest. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Mid-American Review, Foglifter, The Swamp Literary Magazine, Split Rock Review, Great Lakes Review, Hoxie Gorge Review, and elsewhere, and has won an AWP Intro Journals Project award in poetry as well as Hopwood awards in both poetry and nonfiction. They live in Alaska.

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