Tory Adkisson


Dad backed up the truck but couldn't see
in the rain. The turnbuckles didn't hold;

the fence unleashed. The chicken-wire
whipped through the stalks -- a swift decapitation.
The tomatillos' wrinkled heads smeared your body

green as they ghosted toward
the darkness beyond the porch light.


I didn't see you scurry outside,
bandy-legged in nothing but a blue windbreaker,

one hand stretching for the Buick's passenger-side
handle. But the wheel caught your other sleeve,

tugged you down with it. I was frozen talc-hued,
watching balls of daddy longlegs hatch

from a jaundiced pumpkin.
They crept over my naked toes.


I heard some rocks crack. I saw you
and thought, Your bones. Your cheeks

were peat streaked. The tires cut
your legs from knee to ankle in long watermelon slivers.
Dirt flecked the red like seeds.

Crack. The truck staggered. Stopped.
Still, no one emerged.


If the worms know what has happened,
know they won't say a thing to anyone. How can they?

Like you, they'd just have felt it. But they know more
by feeling. That's the key to their survival --

they burrow on instinct. Bury yourself,
little brother. Re-emerge when you're whole.