Jesse Priest

Why yes! I am a long way from home, for home is where the linoleum tiles cracked in fruit-sliced shapes along the floor when the chill set in around mid-October, and the house itself would begin to shudder, to groan under its own weight and the carpenter's imperfection, careless but intentional, where inches were rounded up to branches and juniper leaves were substitutions for paint, and the amber resin side-paneling began to solidify only a week after the beetle, frozen in place, resigned itself and closed its eyes, because only then could it become fossil and so, immortal, placed onto the broken third story left-side window panel, steel itself against the elderly fingers of entropy, onset as they are.
      And yes! You are the Atlas of our day, where once I saw you skipping rocks along the lake's edge, wearing your brightest boots and the smile of a traveler's dawn, the one that is always on the horizon assuming you're moving westward, now I see you walking with rocks and saplings on your back, and you think of the beetle's long-cracked carapace, hues of jaune et verte replacing the once decidedly Mars-color of its fringes, and who hired that carpenter anyway, since he came to our house wearing fern-leaf trousers! and on his head a bonnet of wispy cotton roots, swinging his maple tree boots over our table informed us that he was indeed going to be painting with various resins and salts; of course he wasn't going to winterize our house, he said, since most of his ingredients wither in the cold, yet we paid him in acorns, and that's why it was so cheap but my god, I think we hired a tree.
      But yes! We have missed our train, because now there are no more trains, they've stopped arriving years ago, and all the tunnels are prairie fields where fox-eyes watch us from the thickets as keen for a feast as we would be for a timely departure, and I'm not sure why we even attempted to venture underground into the root system of the world, this overgrowth had established itself years ago although it was worth an attempt, I think, if only to escape for a couple hours the deciduous matting going on up above, to be honest I'm never sure these days which are buildings and which are palms, so intertwined are they, throngs of metal bound tightly-knotted to pillars of wood and rock, and the beetle is just as bad off as we are, encased in this rusty conch shell of timber and greenery, but at the risk of sounding trite I'm going to maintain that if we didn't hire that carpenter, if we noticed the warning signs in the brush fires he burned in our backyard on contract day, then he would never have built this arbor-esque monument, this stunning wonder of topography, these roads of corn husks and sap-seed tongues; but now speak in whispers—as the beetle was, so we must.








This piece happened out of nowhere shortly after I moved from the pinescapes of rural Maine to the blinding dizziness of Boston, and the collision of the two is reflected here.