Old-Growth Disease

You’re out there and you don’t think that anyone can see those things that you do when no one’s looking because you do them when no one’s looking but I can see you and I can see them.

When I pass you in the street and our eyes meet and we don’t exchange any words and you draw your shoulders in from the cold I can see those things that you do. It’s in the eyes.

They’re tired and sad and weak and they betray you.

They betray the roots setting in your soil and you should know that once they set they’ll grow inward and ensnare your heart faster than you thought was ever possible. They’ll tighten their grip like a dog’s jaws during a kill frenzy locked on the cat’s throat while the owner pleads and pleads with it to let go and the cat’s not dead yet but he looks it because he’s still.

If you wrench those roots from your ground now the damage might be serious and it won’t be clean and your skin will tear and your vessels will stretch and then burst and your flesh will rip jagged and heal poorly.

You might have to lie down for a while and sweat it out.

Your sheets might stay drenched for a week and you might pass violent dreams that terrorize you like short films in which young people die undue deaths and their friends give eulogies and starving babies get left in dumpsters and officers in formal wear deliver folded flags.

When you wake up you might lose your balance on the walk to the bathroom and your depth perception when you look into the mirror while you brush your teeth and you’ll probably vomit and then have to brush your teeth again but the taste will still be in the back of your throat.

Your teeth might hurt.

You can try to cut the tree at its base so you won’t have to pull as hard and so the dreams stay away and after ten steady minutes of that chainsaw grinding its staggered shark teeth through the mossy bark and the rings and the moisture and the sap and finally the bark again the tree will fall and you’ll feel free for a while.

You’ll sit on the stump with your fist under your chin and you’ll think you can situate those blatant forfeitures of precious moments somewhere in the past but you can’t.

You know what you have to do and you’d be wise to do it or else the poison will poison the whole forest and the leaves will fall and the bark of old-growth redwoods will fade and Venus Flytraps will shrivel up and wither and then curl down toward the ground in defeat.

And then when you finally do try to pull and pull and get the roots out like pulling weeds for five dollars when you’re five your skin will still tear and your vessels will stretch and then burst and your flesh will rip and you’ll faint from the pain.

You’ll wake up disabled and bleeding internally down near the organs where the blood is that deep crimson that you see on a city sidewalk the morning after a violent fist fight where someone lost and someone won but no one won.

It’ll be that blue blood you didn’t know you had and didn’t ever want to know and now you know. You’ll bleed out and be gone like an old tree, quiet and sideways and rotting slowly and not supposed to be gone but gone nonetheless.

You’re out there and I know it and you need to stop.


Filed under Featured Content, Writing

2 responses to “Old-Growth Disease

  1. toni zeisel

    Beautiful, thank you


  2. toni zeisel

    The soul, the heart, the brain floating to your hand with pen – very blue blood, a pure poetry.


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